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Aggressive COVID testing scares public in Tiruvannamalai

Chief Secretary K Shanmugam had called on districts where there were spike in COVID-19 cases to opt for aggressive testing, and this has resulted in people in Tiruvannamalai district keeping away owing to fear of being tested and quarantined.

Aggressive COVID testing scares public in Tiruvannamalai
Chief Secretary K Shanmugam; Tiruvannamalai Collector Kandasamy


Tiruvannamalai district has registered a total of 15,000 positive cases till Sunday with 1,002 cases of them remaining active.

Collector KS Kandasamy said except the 1,000-odd active cases, the remaining have been discharged after treatment. Also, 222 deaths in the district accounted only 1.5 per cent of the total cases, he added.

Asked why cases spiked after a dip, the Collector said: “Increase in testing from 1200-a-day to more than 2000 each day has revealed more positive cases, but when we started aggressive testing we found that the public were not interested due to the fear of being quarantined.

Another reason for high number of cases according to Kandasamy were due to private hospitals washing their hands off COVID patients. “Patients who get admitted for other health issues also sometime test positive for COVID, but the private hospitals ignore them,” he said.

“The five deaths in the last two days was due to three cases from Tiruvannamalai and two from Vellore coming under this category,” he added.

Another factor is that even when red and yellow stickers are pasted on the houses of COVID positive patients and neighbours respectively, the former do not bother much about neighbours as was witnessed in a village near Cheyyar when a person who tested positive and opted for home quarantine went to work in the 100-day scheme.

“In fact he fought with the panchayat secretary and got the job despite knowing that he could spread the virus,” the Collector said.

Health officials, meanwhile, said patients would opt for government hospitals only when institutional hygiene and housekeeping improved as now this was a serious problem.

“As officials cannot enter COVID wards, it is left to hospital housekeeping staff to ensure that hygiene protocols are followed totally to ensure no infection takes place,” health officials averred.

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