With concerns of false negative results of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) rising, J&K Government has sought a major increase in running samples through RT-PCR, the gold standard of COVID19 tests. Today, 582 samples were reported positive in J&K, while 10 patients, COVID19 positive lost life.
A senior health department official said that Chief Secretary J&K Government, BVR Subramanyam has directed all Chief Medical Officers across districts of the UT to increase sampling for RT-PCR tests. “Orders have been issued to ensure that out of the total sampling, 40 percent should be run on RT-PCR and 60 percent on RAT,” the official said.
He said the directions have been issued to increase the accuracy of the tests and help in better assessment of the COVID19 scenario in Jammu and Kashmir.
The health official said that the probability of a false negative was high if a sample was tested on RAT and that RT-PCR was the gold standard in testing for SARS-CoV2. “GoI has also been stressing on re-testing all negative samples to ensure that no case is missed,” he said.
In an earlier order, issued by Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo, the five new medical colleges in J&K and GMC Srinagar, Jammu and SKIMS Soura were directed to increase the capacity of their microbiology labs to help increase the number of RT-PCR tests.
In the past two weeks, the number of positive cases has been seen on rise in Jammu division, while in Kashmir division, there has not been any major change in the new cases. Although, in J&K, tests per million are among the highest in India, a majority of samples are tested using RAT.
Out of the samples tested in the past 24 hours, 582 were found positive. 310 of them were from Jammu division and 272 from Kashmir.
In the 24 hours prior to Thursday evening, 10 people were reported to have lost life across J&K. Five of them were from Kashmir division including four from district Srinagar. These were a 52 year old male from Ram Bagh area admitted at SMHS Hospital. A 64 year old male from Buchpora admitted, a 68 year old male from Barzulla and a 75 year old male from Khanyar, all admitted at SKIMS Soura also succumbed to the viral illness.
A 55 year old female from Aragam Bandipora admitted at SMHS Hospital was also among the casualties of the viral disease.