ICR health dept says contact tracing on while it’s not

ITANAGAR, 2 May: Contact tracing is being carried out regularly in the Itanagar capital region (ICR) by IDSP and RRT teams in Itanagar and Naharlagun “through mobile discussion or house visit on a war footing,” informed ICR DMO Dr Mandip Perme.

Referring to a news item regarding contact tracing, which was published in this daily on 1 May, the DMO clarified that presently, RRT teams in Naharlagun and Itanagar “are working for contact tracing.” He added that plans are afoot to place three RRT teams each in Itanagar and Naharlagun “or more teams, depending upon the situation.” One RRT team consists of five members.

“The night curfew and contact tracing/line listing does not have any relation with surveillance activities,” Dr Perme said, adding that following up on contact tracing of positive cases, primary contact tracing and line listing/surveillance activities are routine duties of the TDSP and RRT teams.

He further clarified that “the contact tracing of primary contact/line listing/follow-up of positive cases, etc, does not necessarily mean that the team has to go to every household of positive cases. It can be done through telephone/mobile conversations.”

Terming the news item “discouraging” and tagging the source of the information as being “misleading and condemnable,” the DMO said “such information should be confirmed officially to avoid panic among the citizens.”

He said the frontline workers, who are making their best efforts to stop the chain of transmission, need cooperation and support from all.

Providing details of the contact tracing being done by the IDSP and RRT teams in the capital region, Dr Perme informed that positive asymptomatic/mild symptomatic cases are kept under home isolation “after obtaining undertaking, and medicines kit are provided to them for treatment.”

“The severity cases are referred to DCCH/DCH for further treatment and asymptomatic/mild positive cases that do not have accommodation for home isolation are being kept at CCC Lekhi,” the DMO informed.

He said that primary contacts are advised to get tested at the nearest testing centre within five days, and are directed to isolate themselves at their homes till they get the results.

“In case anyone gets left out from contact tracing, they are requested to contact the notified control room/RRT/FS,” the DMO added.

This daily can confirm that contact tracing is not being carried out as claimed by the department. Several people who have tested positive or whose family members have tested positive have called to inform that they did not hear from the department again after getting a call to inform that they tested positive.