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J&K to increase Covid-19 testing capacity by 18500 per day

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“Positivity rate of COVID in the UT has come down from 2.9 % to 1.4%”

JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir administration today disclosed that the existing capacity of Covid-19 testing will be increased to 18500 per day in the coming days with the introduction of new machines.

This was revealed by Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo during a video conference with Union Minister of State in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh.

Dulloo said that new machines like Automated RMA extractor will be used for aggressive testing.

Union Minister of State in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh reviewed the testing capacity and facilities made available at the quarantine centres in Jammu and Kashmir, here at a meeting with the officers of the health department of the Union Territory held through Video Conference.

The Union Minister lauded the efforts of the medical fraternity of Jammu and Kashmir in combating the spread of the Coronavirus infection and directed to enhance the testing capacity at the health institutions and improve the facilities at the quarantine centres.

He also assured every possible support to the health department of JK from the central government in its efforts to contain the novel coronavirus.

The video conference meeting was attended by Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo; Director Health Services Jammu, Dr Renu Sharma; Director Health Services, Dr Samir Mattoo; Director SKIMS, A G Ahanger; Mission Director National Health Mission, Bhupinder Kumar; Principal Government Medical College Jammu, Dr Nasib Chand Dingra; Managing Director JK Medical Supplies Corporation, Dr Yashpal Sharma; Joint Director Planning Health and Medical Education, Madan Lal, other officers.

Financial Commissioner, Atal Dulloo, in a presentation, said that efforts are being made to increase the testing capacity in J&K by adding to the existing infrastructure in a big way. He said that as on May 21, around 8596 COVID tests are being conducted on a daily basis. He said that J&K is at the second place, only after Delhi, in terms of total tests being conducted per million of population.

The FC said that the existing capacity will be increased to 18500 per day in the coming days with the introduction of new machines like Automated RMA extractor. The FC also informed that the positivity rate of COVID in the UT, which was 2.9 % out of total testing on 1st May has come down to 1.4% on 21st May.

He highlighted the present testing capacity of the labs and strategies being adopted to enhance the capacity at all health institutions in the coming days. The FC said that new machines are being hired from different sources to augment the testing capacity. He said that five new Cartidge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines will be procured by 31st May enabling all the new GMCs to conduct  COVID testing. He said this would increase the testing capacity to manifolds.

He said that a COBAS-6800 for SKIMS Soura has been ordered that will add additional capacity of 1500 tests per day, while the testing capacity at GMC Srinagar will be increased to 2000 tests per day in coming days.

It was also given out in the meeting that SKIMS Bemina has also got permission to start COVID testing   after getting permission from ICMR and Siemens machines will be hired to increase testing rate. The FC also said that GMC Jammu is conducting 1400 tests per day and its capacity will be increased to 1700 by next week.

To enhance the testing capacity further, the FC said that purchase order has been placed for COVID testing RTPCR machines for new Medical Colleges of Anantnag, Doda, Baramulla, Rajouri and Kathua. He said that Army Command Hospital Udhampur is a good example of collaboration between Army and civil administration, which is doing 1000 tests per day.

Dr. Jitendra Singh, while hailing the efforts being made by the JK health deptt, assured full support from the Central Govt. in fighting against the COVID-19.

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