Karaikal GH gets COVID-19 testing lab

The COVID -19 testing laboratory sanctioned for Karaikal by the Puducherry Government will be established at the Government Hospital in the enclave, the district administration has decided.

The announcement on start of the facility, a dire need for Karaikal residents, was made by Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy last week after holding a review meeting with officials to take stock of the measures taken to contain the spread of the pandemic. Mr. Narayanasamy said on July 2 that the facility will be established within a fortnight, while acknowledging the difficulty faced by the district administration in carrying out tests.

In recent weeks, COVID-19 cases have spread rapidly in the district, which had remained a green zone for months. Now, Karaikal was the most affected when compared to Mahe and Yanam enclaves. As on July 3, the Karaikal district administration had got swab samples of 2,782 persons tested at the Tiruvarur Government Medical College Hospital.

The delay in obtaining the results of the samples has been a hindering factor for the administration in taking quick decisions on isolation of infected people, and on finalising containment zones. For instance, out of the swab samples of 77 persons taken on July 2, two persons had tested positive. But the district administration came to know the results only on July 4.

The Karaikal district administration has, so far, identified 45 COVID-19 positive cases. Of the 27 active cases, the process of isolation and treatment at the Government Hospital has been completed for nine patients. Eighteen infected patients are currently undergoing treatment at the government hospital.

“The testing laboratory will initially be established at the government hospital. It will be adequate for the population. In case, the need for a second laboratory arises, starting of another unit in JIPMER hospital will be considered," District Collector Arjun Sharma said.

Public welfare entities have been raising the demand for start of testing laboratories in the government hospital as well as JIPMER hospital.

Testing laboratories of bio-safety level III were necessary at both places, S. Anandkumar, president of Karaikal unit of India Against Corruption, said. “The samples sent to Tiruvarur may get affected due to road shock, higher temperature, travelling and waiting time, transportation risks, unnecessary repeated handing and associated risks. Even positive cases may turn negative, to the great risk of people at large,” Prof. Anandkumar said.

The testing paraphernalia has to be scaled up substantially in the district, he said, emphasising that early testing was vital for better and faster recovery.

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