[ Tongam Rina ]
ITANAGAR, May 29: As the COVID-19 testing labs are overwhelmed with samples after the government made testing mandatory for all those returning home from outside the state, the Arunachal government has decided to outsource some of the samples to a private lab in Delhi.
The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Pema Khandu held on Friday in Itanagar.
The samples are being outsourced to Dr. Lal PathLabs in Delhi at a cost of Rs. 3200 per sample.
The secretary Health, P. Parthiban said that samples are being outsourced to the private lab in order to reduce the backlog in RMCR, Dibrugarh.
Around 500 samples are expected in the next two days, which will be sent to the private lab in Delhi, he said while responding to a query from this daily.
Some four hundred samples from Arunachal are tested per day with highest being in RMCR, Dibrugarh between 150 to 200 followed by Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (TRIHMS) between 100 to 150, the heath secretary said. Currently the total backlog is more than 1200 samples.
Apart from Dibrugarh and TRIHMS, the samples are tested in Tezpur Medical College and IRL, Naharlagun.
The cabinet further decided to procure TrueNat system for ramping up testing facilities.
ICMR in a revised guideline issued on the May 19 had said that the TrueNat system is now a comprehensive assay for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases.
The government did not say when the system will be procured but said that 14 TrueNat system of two different variations will be procured.
The cabinet further decided to procure personal protective equipment and Viral Transport Media for swab collection and to “equip critical entry gates with in situ testing” especially for drivers of essential item vehicles.
503 samples collected, 1216 results awaited
On Friday, 503 samples were collected from sixteen districts in the state, according to the COVID-19 bulletin issued by the health department. The highest numbers of 130 samples were collected from Capital region followed by 116 in Changlang.
Of the 895 total samples collected from Changlang, results of 257 samples are awaited which is highest in the state.
While the capital region has seen the highest number of samples collected at 2489, Kamle so far has collected just 7 samples followed by Kra Daadi with 10 and Kurung Kumey at 11.
(This news has been updated with correction as the original report had stated that samples being tested at RMRC, Dibrugarh was being charged Rs 3200 per sample. The health dept clarified that all govt labs are testing samples for free)