CPM State Committee members carry out a peaceful protest against the TRS government on Kairtabad X Road, in Hyderabad on 29 June 2020 | ANI
CPM State Committee members carry out a peaceful protest against the TRS government on Kairtabad X Road, in Hyderabad on 29 June 2020 | ANI
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New Delhi: The Telangana government, which is facing accusations of fudging the state’s Covid-19 data, has blamed a private laboratory in Hyderabad for its high positivity rate. At 19.65 per cent, the state has the country’s highest positivity rate, according to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Hours after ThePrint had reported Friday that the K. Chandrasekhar Reddy-led government could be underreporting Covid-19 cases in its health bulletin, the state government released a detailed note on what appears to be an explanation for the discrepancy.

The note, released late Friday along with the health bulletin, read: “One of the private laboratories have reported extremely high sample positivity rate. The said lab has reported 2,673 positive cases against 3,762 samples tested. The positivity rate is 71.7% which is a gross variation and discrepancy in the notified positivity rate of Covid-19 till date.”

It further mentioned: “The tested negatives are only 962 out of 3,763 samples. The issue needs to be evaluated by an expert committee and until then the data of the said lab has been kept under abeyance.”

The health bulletin, which includes data from the 5pm cycle, has instead been coming out around 9pm with increasing frequency. This Friday, it was released at 11pm.

While the health bulletin recorded 20,462 Covid-19 cases until Friday night, the dashboard accessed by ThePrint, showed 23,787 cases at the time.

Telangana Covid-19 statistics dashboard | Screenshot
Telangana Covid-19 statistics dashboard | Screenshot

Also read: How Andhra is firmly testing, treating its way out of Covid crisis, but Telangana struggling


Problems with data 

Dr G. Srinivasa Rao, the director of public health who took cognisance of the matter, said 23 private labs were given permission to test Covid-19 suspects in the state, of which 13 had shown discrepancies in data. However, he singled out one private lab in particular, which the state claims is responsible for the high positivity rate.

“A private lab in Himayatnagar had major issues in the data they produced,” Dr Rao said at a press conference Saturday afternoon, and later confirmed the lab was Vijaya Diagnostic Centre.

“Private labs were doing double tests than (their) capacity due to which results might have been wrong,” he noted, adding that private labs had a testing capacity of 8,000 samples per day.

Addressing the issue of the state’s high positivity rate, Dr Rao said, “The government has not created this virus, people also should take the responsibility … We have not hidden any numbers,” but went on to say that compared to the US and other states in this country, “we are very safe”.

The state government has issued notices to the 13 private labs that showed discrepancies.

Last week, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi government had, on the one hand, said it found multiple problems with testing protocol, infrastructure and infection control in private labs.

On the other hand, it has been facing criticism for not being able to arrange plasma donors for critically ill patients. The state IT secretary, Jayesh Ranjan, had tweeted urging someone to donate plasma for an employee who tested positive for pneumonia covid.


Also read: Hyderabad suspends Covid testing as sample backlog ‘runs into thousands’


 

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