Why COVID-19 testing is fluctuating in TN? Here's what the minister said!

As the graph of COVID-19 testing in Tamil Nadu has been on the rise and fall trend, it has ignited a debate across the state and among the opposition parties on the fluctuating state of the testing as the opposition claimed that the state government has decreased the volume of tests. Amid these developments, the government has rebutted such narratives and stood by its notion of delivering the highest number of tests.

While addressing the reporters on Monday, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Vijayabaskar has said that the government has neither reduced or limited the number of samples being lifted for testing and it has been testing all people arriving in the state in all forms of the transportation channels. The minister stated that there has been no drastic decline in the number of samples and the per day count of testing hasn't gone below 10,000 in recent times. 

Most of the districts have been testing 4,000 to 8,000 samples each day on an average and the minister said that the government has tested about 85,000 samples in Chennai so far as of Monday. He highlighted that the state has recorded 12,536 tests as the average numbers for the past ten days and he attributed the fluctuating numbers to the change in the strategy and emergence of the clusters.

According to the minister, the government has been carrying out the tests based on the guidelines rolled out by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). As per the guidelines, conducting exit tests for COVID-19 patients before discharge is not required. Previously, the patients had undergone two successive tests before getting discharged. The number of COVID-19 testing had gone high whenever there was an emergence of epicenters.

The medics, wearing PPE, collecting the sample from a woman for COVID-19 testing in Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital in Chennai - PTI Photo


The state had tested more samples when the Koyambedu cluster has emerged and it had gone high when frontline workers were tested in the large numbers. The returnees have been put up for testing on their arrival and the state has been getting a cluster of cases from those who had returned from Maharashtra. The minister claimed that the government could have reduced the number of testing facilities now if the testing has been getting declined. However, the state currently has 61 laboratories and testing facilities, the highest number of facilities than any other state.

According to the reports, the number of COVID-19 testing per day has been varying between 10,000 and 14,000 for the past two weeks. It stood above 13,000 at the beginning of May and on May 16, 17, and 18, the testing had stood at 10,535, 13,081, and 11,121 respectively signaling the fluctuating trend. The Minister maintained that no one is left out from testing and it has been carried based on the Center's guidelines and denied DMK President Stalin's claim on reducing the number of tests. 

Vijayabaskar said that the opposition's notion is not acceptable and it is wrong. Tamil Nadu has been doing the highest number of tests in India and the government has been making an early diagnosis, treat people, and discharge them. According to the ICMR, India has tested 23,02,792 samples so far as of Monday of which Tamil Nadu has the highest number by testing 3,37,841 samples followed by Maharashtra which had tested 2,82,194 samples.