GUWAHATI, July 27 - Seven people � Tulsi Prasad Deuri (59) of Jorhat, Joy Singh Bey (59) of East Karbi Anglong, Mevina Begum (26) of Kamrup (M), Dr GMS Chowdhury (72) of Dibrugarh, Ajoy Mahato (35), Puspa Roy (75) and Dinesh Chandra Das (50) of Tinsukia � succumbed to COVID-19 today, Health Mnister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Thus the statewide death toll stands at 86.
Meanwhile, seeking to ramp up testing facilities to check the spread of COVID-19, the State health department has launched 60 new screening centres across the State capital city. With these, altogether 103 COVID-19 screening centres will be functional in the city and each centre has been set a target of 50 tests per day.
�The three-week lockdown and the use of rapid antigen test kits which give instant results have helped in bringing down COVID-19 infection in Guwahati. But the impact of the lockdown will last only for a few days. To check the virus, we need to increase our testing,� Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, addressing 150 newly appointed laboratory technicians recruited for these centres here.
�We are changing the testing strategy a bit in Guwahati. Henceforth, the screening centres will be open from 9 am to 12.30 pm, and after an hour-long break, the team will move out to the field for sample collection till 4.30 pm. One of the technicians will be at the centre for any person who might come in the afternoon,� Sarma said, adding that if the department can test 35 per cent of the city�s population in the next one month, it could get some control over the pandemic.
While all samples collected at the centres and found COVID negative will be sent for RT-PCR tests, while the samples taken at the field level will be subjected to only rapid test; only symptomatic persons who test negative in the rapid test will be asked to come for RT-PCR sample collection the next day.
�The team of technicians which cannot meet the target of 50 samples daily may not have their contracts renewed later as performance will be evaluated. Our target is to test 35% of the city�s population to effectively bring out the infection,� Sarma said.
The positivity rate in the city is still as high as 10 per cent and it has to be contained at 5 per cent, he said.
Sarma said 10,000 beds will be ready at the new covid care centres being set up in the city by August 2.
The overall COVID 19 tally in the State has reached 32,228 with 1142 new cases detected in the last 24 hours.
The recovery tally has also continued to increase with 985 discharges during the last 24 hours, taking the total figure to 24,040.