Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday said nearly one in every 13 test samples in Kashmir are coming out positive for the novel (new) coronavirus.
“Overall, country has about one in 22 tests positive for COVID-19,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“As of April 2, Kashmir valley has tested 678 samples, of which 53 (7.8 percent) were positive,” he said adding “overall, in India of 42,788 samples, 1, 965 (4.5 percent) cases were tested positive.”
Dr Nisar said the reason for our higher percentage of test results coming positive could be because of more target testing or the testing rate is high than rest of the states. It is also possible that the number of cases in the valley are more than other parts of the country.
“Kashmir has 7.57 cases per one million which is higher COVID-19 case density than most states in India,” he added.
Dr Nisar said in comparison to India, as of March 25 about a quarter of all tests in Italy, about a sixth in Austria and a tenth in UK were positive for COVID-19.
“74,386 of 324,445 tests (23 percent) in Italy, 6001 of 35,995 tests (16.7 percent) in Austria, 65,497 of 484,062 tests (13.5 percent) in US and 9,529 of 97,019 tests (10 percent) in the UK were positive,” he said.
Dr Nisar said more testing rates in other countries could be the reason for higher number of cases. “India performs 18 tests per onemillion, Italy has testing rate of 5,268 tests per million and South Korea conducts 6,931 per million population,” he said.
He said there is need to expand testing as that is only way to know the actual burden of the disease in the community. “More than 80 percent of coronavirus cases are mild and they don’t turn up and go unreported. Weneed to find them and test them,” he said. Dr Nisar said there are few reported cases in the valley who had no history of travel or contact which gives us an early indication that the infection is spreading untraced in the local community.
“We need to switch from restrictive to wider testing to know if there is community spread,” he said. “Under new guidelines, anyone with symptoms compatible with the novel coronavirus, irrespective of travel or contact history qualifies for diagnostic testing,” said Dr Nisar.