Discrepancies noticed in state’s Covid positivity rate data

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 8 Jul: Discrepancies in the data of the Covid positivity rate in Arunachal reportedly prompted the central government to send an expert team to the state to assess the ground situation.

The ICMR portal was showing 25 percent positivity rate in Arunachal, which alarmed the Centre, as such a positivity rate is unusual.

A two-member expert team, comprising Kolkata-based AIIH & PH Professor Dr Sanjay Sadhukhan and Patna-based AIIMS’ Pulmonary Medicine Associate Professor Dr Somesh Thakur, visited Itanagar on 5 July to obtain the ground report.

On being contacted by The Arunachal Times, the health department blamed poor internet connectivity for the mismatch in the Covid data. The department stated that the actual positivity rate in Arunachal is 6 percent.

“This is wrong due to technical reasons, where the districts have been only uploading positive tested results. Negative tested results were not uploaded to the ICMR portal and hence the mismatch between the actual figures of positivity and that of the GoI portal. This is being corrected with addition of more data entry manpower from other sections and department. This gap was due to poor and erratic net connectivity and less people to manage and feed the data on field,” an official in the health department said.

On being asked, Health Secretary P Parthiban stated that, “with respect to rapid antigen tests (RAT), since 14 out of our 26 districts have poor net connectivity, data was not entered in the portal properly in these districts.”

“In Arunachal, we do 95 percent of our tests through RAT, and since there is huge data to be entered, it started to pile up and many districts couldn’t be updated on entering the data. Earlier, the government of India was relying on the daily data collected by our state surveillance officer for measuring the positivity rate,” Parthiban said.