To tackle the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, testing and sampling capacity has been substantially increased in all the districts of Kashmir division as the number of Coronavirus cases across the valley witness a spike.
Jammu and Kashmir Government's Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Health & Medical Education, Dr Owais Ahmad said that Kashmir division is fully geared to take on the challenge of meeting the testing requirements with the combined efforts of SKIMS, GMC, Srinagar and Directorate of Health Services.
"In addition to facility-based sampling centres, 58 kiosks have been set up across the districts of Kashmir division to increase the accessibility of people to testing centres, patient to be tested, walk up to the kiosk and a nasal or pharyngeal swab is taken by the health care professionals, thus making the process free of the infection spread."
He further added that to augment the manpower in the hospitals, the doctors posted in the field have been deployed at SKIMS and GMC Srinagar and the services of microbiologists from Kashmir University and SKUAST have also been availed.
Besides 423 laboratory technicians have also been trained at JLNM hospital, Srinagar for taking samples following strict infection control practices and 58 block level teams have been trained through video conferencing in contact tracing and surveillance.
Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) have been formed at the divisional level and at every district as well as at block level to respond to any outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. Surveillance teams are present in every red zone to perform house to house survey for Influenza-like illness and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI).
He said at present seven additional PCR machines have been pushed into service in addition to one CBNAAT (Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test) machine at Intermediate Reference Laboratory, Srinagar while the third lab at SKIMS Medical College is to be started in coming days making the per day test capacity highest in the whole country.
While divulging the details regarding the samples tested so far the OSD said that more than 8500 samples have been tested till date and with the augmented capacity of testing and sampling, the labs are fully geared to tackle the challenge of COVID-19, in Kashmir division.