Medical workers collecting samples for COVID-19 at the centre set up for the mediapersons in New Delhi Thursday | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Medical workers collecting samples for COVID-19 at the centre set up for mediapersons in New Delhi | Representational image | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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New Delhi: Frontline health workers in Delhi are now visiting houses in their allotted wards on a random basis to conduct a serological survey that has been launched to analyse the scale of undetected Covid-19 infections in the national capital.

ASHA (accredited social health activist) workers and ANMs (auxiliary nurse midwives) will ask people for samples — lab technicians will collect — from wards in each of the 11 districts across the city, said senior Delhi government officials.

According to the revised Delhi Covid Response Plan, samples of 20,000 people will be tested to conclude the population-level presence of an antibody — Immunoglobulin G (IgG) — which indicates past infection.

The number of samples in any area will depend on its population density. Thirty per cent of the samples have to be collected from children, said the officials.

The samples will be taken from persons who have been residing in Delhi for at least six months. The workers will also note down details including travel and contact history, and will secure consent forms, according to recommendations by a central committee headed by NITI Aayog member V.K. Paul.

The households could be from containment as well as non-containment zones.

The survey began in some districts over the weekend, but will kick off in most other parts Monday. It has to be completed by 10 July.

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The National Centre for Disease Control will study the survey, which is a collaboration between the Centre and the Delhi government.

As of Monday morning, Delhi has recorded 83,077 Covid cases and 2,623 deaths.

Also read: Hold up of Chinese imports disrupting Covid medical supplies: Pharma export body ‘SOS’ to govt

Samples for the survey

According to health officers in the city, each district has been assigned a specific number of samples that are to be collected from their wards.

For instance, Shahdara Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Dr Rajesh Kumar said 1,325 samples are to be collected from the area under his jurisdiction.

In the North district, the collection of samples began Sunday in Model Town and Swaroop Nagar, said Dr Namrata Naiyyar, North District CDMO.

“We have been assigned to collect samples for 1,058 persons and while ASHA workers and ANMs are visiting every fifth or sixth household to convince people to give samples, lab technicians and junior doctors are on field duty to ensure the needful is being done,” said Naiyyar.

Dr Sandeep Gautam, CDMO, North East district, said, “We have to collect 1,642 samples in all so I have directed the ground staff to collect blood samples from every tenth household in each of the 44 wards.”

In South Delhi, the calculations for samples required are still under way. District Magistrate B.M. Mishra said he constituted five teams Sunday and directed them to collect 100 samples each.

“We want to have 500 samples by the end of the day after which we will look at the next day,” said Mishra.

In the West district, the teams on the ground have been asked to collect 3,000 samples. “We haven’t fixed any particular number of hours but I’ve asked the lab technicians and ASHAs to carry out maximum number of rounds in the morning,” said Dr Sunita Prasad, CDMO, West district.

On Saturday, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia visited Ram Nagar in Central Delhi district to monitor the survey.

Meanwhile, the Centre has also asked the Delhi government to assess every individual death due to Covid in the city and note how many days before death the person was brought to the hospital and from which place.

Also read: Govt must focus on controlling Covid deaths, not just recovery rate: Public health expert


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