Random samples come back negative: Meghalaya Health department calms fears of community spread

UT News Service | Shillong, Aug 18:  Meghalaya Health Department sought to calm fears of community spread of Covid-19 on Tuesday, with Director of Health Services Dr Aman Warr stating that the COVID-19 positive results are still below the requisite threshold.

“If 50 percent of people test positive out of several hundred random samples in a particular locality, only then can it be stated that such a locality is witnessing community spread of the virus,” Dr Warr said at his daily briefing here.

The vast majority of rapid antigen tests carried out in various parts of the state capital have come back negative so far.

Not a single case of Covid-19 has been reported in Laitumkhrah or Mawpat, he informed, despite hundreds of tests conducted in these areas.

However, in Jhalupara, 14 people tested positive for COVID-19 out of several hundred tests and there were also three new cases in Upper Mawprem. Results from Khyndailad and Anjalee parking lot are still awaited, he added.

In all, 39 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed on Tuesday in Meghalaya, while there were six recoveries. This took the total number of active cases in the state to 766. Meghalaya has so far witnessed a total of 1,457 Covid-19 cases, with 685 recoveries.

Twenty-seven of today’s new cases came from East Khasi Hills, including 11 Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, seven armed forces personnel and nine civilians. The other new cases include seven cases from West Garo Hills (BSF two, civilians five), three civilians in Ri-Bhoi and one case each in East Jaiñtia Hills and South West Garo Hills.

One civilian and three BSF personnel in East Khasi Hills and one civilian and one BSF jawan in West Garo Hills represented the recoveries.

Also Read: Meghalaya: Three tested COVID-19 positive in random testing

Dr Warr also said that there has been no public discontent as far as random testing is concerned, with people coming forward and cooperating with the authorities to get themselves tested.

He explained that, earlier, those who tested positive using the rapid antigen test had another sample taken using the more reliable RT-PCR test to confirm their status if there were only a few cases in their respective locality.

“Now, those who tested positive for COVID-19 through the antigen test have been counted as confirmed positive cases because a number of persons from a particular area had tested positive,” Dr Warr said, citing the case of Rilbong, where more than 40 people tested positive during random testing in the last couple of days.

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