COVID-19 testing & diagnosis the ‘biggest challenge’

DIMAPUR, AUGUST 9 (MExN): The Nagaland Health and Family Welfare Department has stated that as is the case all over the world, testing and diagnosis of COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge. 

In its weekly bulletin issued on August 7, the Health Department informed that “no test anywhere in the world is 100% specific or sensitive.” “The need to do testing scientifically and rationally is felt strongly to sustain the fight against COVID-19,” it added. 

The Department also informed that conducting tests on 100 samples through RT PCR in a BSL lab will cost around Rs 5 lakh. 

With public frustration on the time being taken to give out test results, the department explained that the waiting time at the lab will vary depending on the backlog as it is across the country. 

As such, it advised that any contact should start self-isolating immediately before and after the samples are taken for a minimum of 14 days, irrespective of the result received, or the sample being positive/ negative. “An early positive result does not add any value in treatment for mild and asymptomatic cases,” it said. 

The department informed that the timing of sample collection between 5 to 10 days of possible exposure or contact is highly recommended as tests done before the stipulated days can give false negative results. 

Recovery rate at 31%
Meanwhile, as informed by the Health Minister earlier last week, the recovery rate of the State is 31% as compared with India’s 67%. A major cause for the lesser recovery rate is the stricter policy of discharge in the State where a negative test is still mandatory, informed the Health Department in its weekly bulletin. It added that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) do not ask require a negative test for discharge of mild and symptomatic cases. 

18 days doubling time
In terms of spike in cases, the department stated that the current doubling time in the State is 18 days. The doubling time for India is 21 days.   
Last week recorded the highest weekly spike in cases at 964 with majority of cases from the Armed Forces. 
In the past one week, the State tested 6,016 samples and 964 positive cases were detected. The positivity rate for the week is 16 % as compared to 8%, the week before. In total, the State has tested 43,911 samples as of August 7.