By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, June 15, 2020: Odisha on Monday announced to launch a door-to-door survey from June 16 to identify people with coronavirus symptoms for over two weeks, officials said. Odisha has so far reported 3,909 cases and 11 deaths.

National Health Mission director Shalini Pandit made it clear that the next four to six weeks during the monsoon is a crucial period for the spread of the contagion and hence the need for testing of all symptomatic cases in the state.

The surveillance teams will have Anganwadi and ASHA workers who will visit all households in 53,845 villages and slums in all the 103 urban areas to locate persons having COVID-19 symptoms.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) strategy has helped in detecting more positive cases in the state, Pandit said adding, “We have been testing all the symptomatic persons and those in close contact with positive cases as per the ICMR guidelines”.

“Earlier, when asymptomatic persons were being tested, one among 200 was found to be infected. Now one in every 20 symptomatic cases is testing positive for the virus”, she added.

The state’s strategy to deal with coronavirus pandemic during the past three months has so far remained successful with the death rate in Odisha remaining the lowest at 0.03 per one lakh population compared to 0.7 per cent in the country and 6.6 per cent in Delhi. the recovery rate in Odisha is a high of 67 per cent against the national average of 51 per cent.

Pandit claimed that Odisha is a model for the rest of the country for its low mortality and high recovery rate due to the cooperation by people and the involvement of community in the fight against the COVID-19.

“We have so far conducted two lakh tests. Tests per million in the state are higher than the country’s average. The COVID-19 test positivity rate per lakh population in the state is 9.3 per cent compared to 88 per cent in Maharashtra, 205 per cent in Delhi and the national average of 25 per cent,” she added.

Testing for COVID-19 began in February in one laboratory, where two to three tests were conducted in a day. Now there are 17 laboratories in 10 districts of Odisha. These are not confined to Bhubaneswar, Cuttack or Ganjam but are also located in far-flung areas like remote Mathili block in Malkangiri district. In the coming days more laboratories will be opened, she added.

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