The decision came at a time when the State reported 13 cases of Delta Plus variant of SARS Cov-2 so far and is awaiting results of more samples. The samples are currently being sent to InSTEM, Bengaluru, for preliminary screening and genome sequencing. “A testing and research facility for genome sequencing of the samples will be set up in Chennai at a cost of about Rs 2.5 crore,” said Minister Subramanian, adding that Chief Minister MK Stalin has requested the Union government to grant approval expeditiously.
Once the lab is set up, the State need not send samples to other places for testing, which is crucial in case of a third wave, he said. “The Health Department has decided on the location for the lab, and equipment procurement will be done within 20-25 days. But we are awaiting approval,” said the Minister. The medical college hospitals that have been treating pandemic cases would soon have post-COVID centres for follow-up care and monitor any complications that might develop over time, Subramanian said, adding that the post-COVID centre at COVID-19 Government Hospital in Guindy would be opened in the coming week. “We will continue to maintain the health infrastructure even after the decline in COVID cases so that the sudden surge in cases in case of a third wave can be attended to immediately,” he said.
Contract-tracing was being done for all nine positive cases of Delta Plus variant and so far there have been no positive cases reported in their contacts, he added. Of the nine, the person from Madurai who succumbed to the infection was in a critical stage at the time of sample collection, officials said.