With the 54- day lockdown coming to an end in less than a week, and the cases continuing to grow, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued new guidelines to increase the testing and sampling rate at the district level.
The Ministry, on Monday, has decided to conduct a serosurvey in select districts across the country as such.
This serosurvey will be done by collecting the blood serum of a group of individuals and testing it for the presence of Coronavirus. This will be done through different sampling procedures. The survey’s main purpose is to examine and monitor trends of the novel Coronavirus infection at the district level.
The testing and surveillance unit will consist of 10 health facilities (6 public and 4 private) from each district. The tests will be carried on two sets of people- the high-risk population, which is the healthcare workers and the low-risk population include pregnant women and non-respiratory disease patients.
The MOHFW stated that this survey is being carried out as there is a need to establish systematic surveillance for the COVID-19 infection throughout the country. This will add to the current testing guidelines.
Besides this, the ICMR/NCDC along with key stakeholders and state health departments is initiating a population-based serosurvey in selected districts representing case detection across the country, said the Ministry.
Under the survey, a minimum of 100 samples will be conducted each week and 400 per month of the high-risk population, while 50 samples per week and 200 samples for the month of the low-risk population and pregnant women will be conducted.
On average, 200 samples each week and 800 samples every month will be collected for testing. The ministry said that the results of the survey will only be for surveillance purposes, and should not be used for the diagnosis of individual patients.
The Ministry added that the data will be analyzed locally using standard indicator formats like person, place, time and trend analysis will be made.