Antigen tests planned in 80 coastal, 25 tribal, 15 slum areas in Thiruvananthapuram

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With community transmission confirmed in two coastal villages — Pulluvila and Poonthura — in the capital district, the health department is in the process of rolling out a special surveillance activity to identify other regions facing a similar threat. Rapid antigen assays will be conducted to assess the viral spread in densely populated areas like coastal and tribal villages and urban slums.

At the same time, district surveillance units have been asked to prepare contact maps of local transmission cases to check for cluster formation.Under the plan approved by Health Principal Secretary Rajan Khobragade, the surveillance programme will cover a total of 80 coastal villages, 25 tribal hamlets and 15 urban slums. An officer with the health department told TNIE that marginalised population settings will be selected randomly for antigen assays to detect local spread.“Community transmission is not necessarily limited to the two areas already identified. Other coastal villages, tribal villages and urban slums are also prone to the same,” the officer said.

A total of 100 rapid antigen assays will be conducted per village/division (coastal or slum area) and 40 per tribal village, making for a cumulative total of 11,500 tests.

The antigen tests will be conducted at medical facilities catering predominantly to coastal and tribal areas and slums. The testing centres can be primary health centres, private hospitals, general practitioners’ clinics, nursing homes or mobile medical units.

Also, the tests need to be conducted for the first 100 people reaching the health centres with influenza-like illnesses and among people with a history of acute respiratory infection within the previous seven days.

To keep a tab on the formation of Covid clusters in the state, the health department has decided to identify potential clusters early and make preventive interventions in such areas.

“Local transmission cases could happen in two ways, with or without history. The decision now is to prepare a list of all such cases over the past 28 days. To get a better understanding of local spread cases and its trend, the contact map will be prepared in four colours — blue, yellow, red and green,” reads a directive from health principal secretary.

The blue colour is for international/interstate travellers who have turned positive over the past 28 days. Yellow is for cases with history and red for cases without any known history. The green colour is for healthcare workers.

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