Sudden random tests for COVID-19 to be conducted in Assam’s Dhubri district: Himanta Biswa Sarma

The Assam government would increase testing for COVID-19 in Dhubri and subsequently in Kokrajhar, the two districts bordering West Bengal, following an increase in coronavirus positive cases in the neighbouring state, Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.

Sudden random tests will be conducted in three areas of Dhubri district on Sunday and “if there are positive cases, we will also conduct tests in Kokrajhar”, the minister said at a press conference here.

“We are concerned about Dhubri as it has reported cases over a period of time and also borders West Bengal where coronavirus positive figures have increased,” said.

A 62-year-old man from Bilasipara town of Dhubri district had tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

With five coronavirus cases, Dhubri is among the “red zone” or “hotspot” districts in the state, the others being Golaghat, Goalpara, Morigaon and Nalbari.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had allowed rapid testing in the state and “We conducted sample tests on Thursday on 91 residents of a high-end apartment, which was declared a containment zone after one person had tested positive, and all the samples were found to be negative.

“We also conducted rapid testing on coronavirus positive patients undergoing treatment at Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH) here and the results came as positive,” the minister said.

Normal swab tests will be conducted on 25 people of the apartment who had tested negative and also the patients at MMCH who tested positive, he said.

“If the results of both rapid testing and normal tests are the same, then we will go for rapid testing in the state for surveillance purpose, strictly according to ICMR guidelines,” he said.

Assam has so far tested 6,459 people in six laboratories of the state with 35 of them testing positive.

Out of the 35, one person died, 15 are still active and 19 have been released from hospitals.

Sarma said that another person was expected to be released on Saturday.

The Medical Colleges and hospitals and district hospitals have reopened for general patients from Friday.

TheCH will, however, remain a COVID-19 hospital for now.