Cluster-based testing in Jaipur to check community spread

Jaipur, April 8 (IANS) The Rajasthan government is adopting a cluster-based testing approach in the the state capital’s Ramganj area, which has emerged as a coranavirus hotspot with the number of Covid-19 cases rising each day.

With reporting of 12 new cases, here on Wednesday, the number of Covid-19 cases reached 118 in the state capital. Of this, Ramganj accounts for 100 cases. With this Rajasthan’s tally has reached 363.
A special strategy has been prepared for the Ramganj area on epidemiologists’ advice. Under this, Ramganj has been divided into 30 clusters and samples will be collected everyday and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing will be done.
It would help make correct estimate of Covid-19 cases in the area, said Health Minister Raghu Sharma.
Sharma said, 21 samples would be taken daily from each cluster. More samples could also be collected in case of more cases, he added.
As maintaining social distancing was difficult in Ramganj due to population density, a large number of people could be quarantined, he said and added, screening of possible cases had been stepped up.
Ramganj was different than Bhilwara due to demographic and social challenges despite a similar story of coronavirus spread, Chief Secretary D.B. Gupta told IANS.
In Bhilwara, a doctor triggered the chain of infection and left 27 people infected. In Jaipur’s Ramganj, a person who had come from Oman became the starting point.
He and his friend continued to roam in the area. There were 24 people in the building where he stayed. His 24 friends and 24 residents of the building were isolated. Of them, 46 tested coronavirus positive. Now it had spread to more than 100, Gupta said.
On the challenge of social distancing, the Chief Secretary said, unlike Bhilwara where people were literate and lived in well spaced houses, Ramganj was a different case. “We are short-listing more places in the city where they can be isolated,” he said.
Also, while in Bhilwara everybody cooperated, people in Ramganj were resisting, he said. “We have urged maulavis (religious preachers) and other local leaders to convince the community members to come ahead and report if they show any coronavirus symptom,” Gupta said.
According to him, as most patients are asymptomatic, they think they are alright and continue to offer namaz together.
Additional chief secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told IANS: “It’s a high density populated area. Even if we want home-based social distancing, it’s physically not possible. So we have tweaked the Bhilwara model, which is of ruthless containment.
“We are ramping up diagnostic samples and have collected 5,000 samples on Wednesday. The objective is to check the community spread and are roping in local MLAs to convince the community members to cooperate with healthcare workers.”