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COVID-19 testing capacity to be increased to 15,000 per day: Health Minister

Bhubaneswar: To further scale up the COVID-19 testing capacity of Odisha, the state government is all set to begin operation of three new testing facilities in Balangir, Koraput and Baripada this month.

After an inter-ministerial review meeting,   Health Minister Naba Das informed that testing will begin at the medical college and hospitals in Balangir, Koraput and Baripada on May 16, May 23 and May 31, respectively. The meeting also had discussion on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s instruction to increase the testing capacity to 15,000 a day.

“Besides, we will now allow COVID-19 testing at private labs across the state. The ICMR has already given approval for it.  Immediate procurement of all necessary equipment, including RT-PCR test kit and COBAS through Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited (OSMCL) was also proposed at the meeting,” said Das.

This apart, it was proposed to strictly implement the regulation introduced in the state in 2013 banning manufacturing, sale and distribution of gutkha and pan masala containing tobacco and nicotine.

In another major decision, returnees like pregnant women, senior citizen and children aged 5 years will be sent to home quarantine if they test negative for coronavirus. They will remain in contact with doctors and whenever they complain of any COVID-19 symptoms, their COVID-19 testing will be done immediately. Besides, migrant returnees will be immediately sent to their respective houses for home isolation, if they test negative.

Besides, a SOP will be issued for maintenance of cleanliness at hospitals and quarantine centres. In view of the rise in patients in the state, bed capacity will be increased at COVID centres and hospitals.

“While we had earlier targeted to keep 6,000 beds ready in the state, additional 4,000 will be added to the fleet in coming days,” Das informed.

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