GUWAHATI, April 24 - Noting that COVID-19 positive cases are being reported intermittently from Dhubri which also borders West Bengal where the situation is more serious, the State government has decided to conduct random testing at three locations of the district on Sunday.
�Around 150 random tests will be conducted at Bilasipara, Chapar and Dhubri town. This will not be rapid tests, but normal swab sample test through RT-PCR. However, the tests will be done through pooling of the swabs in groups of five,� Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
In pool testing, throat swabs from two to five people are mixed together and tested in a single unit. All individual samples in a negative pool are regarded as negative while if a pooled sample tests positive, each person in the pool is tested individually to find out who is affected.
Pool testing increases the testing capacities of labs and saves time, reduces cost and lowers manpower.
In Dhubri, swabs of five people will be mixed together and so altogether 30 tests will be done initially at the Barpeta laboratory. All the three locations identified for the random tests in Dhubri district have containment zones.
�The decision to initiate random tests at Dhubri was taken because we are getting cases from the district at intervals, unlike in Golaghat where all the cases were reported at the same time,� Sarma said.
Moreover, the government has also stepped up surveillance in Dhubri and Kokrajhar as they border West Bengal where the situation of COVID-19 outbreak is more serious. If positive cases emerge during the random testing at Dhubri, a similar exercise may be conducted in Kokrajhar.