Covid-19:- 775 deaths, 24506 cases-India

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The number of Coronavirus cases in India has reached to 24506 with 1429 new cases in last 24 hours among which 18668  are active and 5063 have recovered and 775 deaths. Maharashtra leads the tally with 6817 positive cases, 5676 active, 840 recovery and 301 deaths followed by Gujrat with 2815 positive cases, 2423 active, 265  recoveredand 127 deaths. Jammu and Kashmir has 454 positive cases with 340 active, 109 recovered and 6 deaths.

1000 samples to be tested daily-Govt.

As the government augments testing labs with additional equipment and manpower, Coronavirus testing may see a massive scale-up in Kashmir in the coming days .
Labs in Kashmir at SKIMS and CD Hospital have been directed to increase their testing capacity and help Govt. to “test and treat COVID19 infected people early and prevent further spread of the viral infection in J&K”. Government has also directed each district to collect at least 70 samples of suspected cases everyday and send these for testing. The goal, an official in health and medical education department said, is to “finish in five days” testing all individuals currently in quarantine and the contacts of those who tested positive.
Div. Com. Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, said government was vigorously helping the labs and hospitals to increase the quantum of testing here. “We have worked out the logistics and even today we have the capacity to test 600 samples a day,” he said. He said that two high-end RT-PCR machines have been shifted from University of Kashmir to CD Hospital and SKIMS, one each. In addition, he said, trained manpower has also been deputed to run these machines. “This has automatically doubled the testing capacity,” he said.
Pole said a technical expert had been flown to Kashmir in a special flight to calibrate the equipment being pooled while as more equipment was “on way”. He said there were enough reagents to support the testing requirements. “Expectedly, the number of positive cases could rise in coming days as we would be testing 1000-1500 samples a day,” he said.
However, an official working in GMC Srinagar termed the arrangements inadequate and “too optimistic”. He said that GMC Srinagar’s COVID19 lab, located at Chest Diseases Hospital had a manual RNA extractor which could process less than 100 samples in a day. “Even if we run it for 24 hours non-stop we can extract RNA from just about 200 samples,” he said. He said RNA extraction was a vital process in COVID19 testing and with the current settings the capacity estimates were “unrealistic”. The same issue, he said, was posed by centrifuge system of the labs.
At SKIMS, although equipment was not an issue but dearth of trained manpower to run testing lab was a major constraint, a senior doctor said. He expressed concern over manpower being sourced from academic institutions for COVID19 testing. “We are throwing novices into a bio-hazardous environment which they most likely have no experience of. It can prove disastrous,” he said.
Dr S Saleem Khan, in-charge COVID19 at GMC Srinagar said that the medical college had deputed laboratory technicians from other department of the college for COVID19 lab. “They are experienced in running medical labs,” he said. Regarding inadequacy of equipment, he said, “We are expecting an automated RNA extractor shortly.”
Dr Farooq Jan, medical superintendent SKIMS said the Institute had assembled eight RT-PCR equipments and was gearing up for steep increase in testing. “We have adequate testing kits for now and more have been ordered,” he said.p

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