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T.S. Singh Deo, Chhattisgarh health minister.  (HT)
T.S. Singh Deo, Chhattisgarh health minister. (HT)

Chhattisgarh health minister highlights need for more testing

If you don’t test enough, you are groping in the dark. We adopted the conservative protocol of less testing, says T.S. Singh Deo

NEW DELHI : With Chhattisgarh having restricted covid-19 cases to 33, with 20 active cases and zero mortality as of Wednesday, the state’s health minister has emphasised the need to test more widely over the coming weeks.

To do that, Chhattisgarh needs more testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE). And—in a sign of confidence—he is hopeful that other equipment such as ventilators may not be required, at least for the time being.

“If you don’t test enough, you are groping in the dark. If the numbers don’t come it is not because they are not infected, it is because you are not able to know. We (India) adopted the conservative protocol of less testing," T.S. Singh Deo said on the phone from Raipur.

“So far there has not been any mortality and the cases which have come positive also seem to be in a reasonable condition. But anything can happen anytime. One can only increase containment effort and widen the testing protocol because there is no medicine," he added.

As of Monday evening, Chhattisgarh has tested 4,821 people, of whom 4,319 tested negative and results were awaited for 469 samples.

Singh Deo, who took over as the health minister in December 2018, when the Congress formed the government under chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, said that he welcomed the coordination between the Centre and states on fighting the virus, and was hopeful that it would extend to other issues.

“We have so far created facility for 4,200 patients, 500 are on standby, and I am sure we can scale it up to roughly 7,000 after which we will rope in the private sector. We will go in other facilities for less affected persons. Then it will be a choice between who to put in higher-end facility, where the ventilators are. Morbidity at ventilator level is 80%. We hope nobody needs a ventilator," Deo said.

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