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Officials Say Extensive Testing and Contact Tracing Helped Bring Down Positivity Rate in Yavatmal and Amravati


Officials Say Extensive Testing and Contact Tracing Helped Bring Down Positivity Rate in Yavatmal and Amravati
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Regions like Amravati and Yavatmal in Maharashtra were considered the epicentres of the second wave of the coronavirus in February 2021. A month later, these districts are now reporting a significantly reduced positivity rate, which is good news for state authorities. District officials said that this is due to the implementation of a rigorous testing regime accompanied by contact tracing. 

As of February 14, Amravati had a COVID-19 positivity rate of around 50 per cent while Yavatmal had a positivity rate of 41 per cent, both being the highest in Maharashtra. This led to both the state and central health departments red-flagging the region. Fast forward to March 17, and the positivity rates at Amravati and Yavatmal stand at 12 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

Also readMaharashtra Records Highest Single-Day Count With Over 25,000 COVID-19 Cases

Speaking on the reduction in the positivity rate, Dr Dilip Ranmale, District Health Officer (DHO) at Amravati said, “Earlier, we only tested people with symptoms and high-risk contacts. This led to a few gaps and contributed to spreading the virus. So, we started testing all possible close contacts which helped us to track the infected people and break the chain of infection.”

“Testing is the only way to stop the spread. The higher we test, the faster we can track the infected person. Then isolate them and provide immediate treatment,” he added.

ReadMaharashtra Accounts To 60 Per Cent Of COVID-19 Active Cases In India

Officials had also sent virus samples to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) for genome sequencing. The NIV detected the E484Q mutation while four samples from Yavatmal were found to have the N440K mutation.  

The DHO at Yavatmal, Dr Hari Pawar said, “Due to the mutation of the virus, it was spreading faster. Many patients from the same families were getting infected. So, we started testing all the family members to find out asymptomatic carriers.”

Also readCOVID-19: Mumbai Malls Will Get Rapid Antigen Testing To Detect Asymptomatic Patients

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