MUMBAI: Roughly one out of three samples being tested for Covid-19 in the city is returning a positive result, an indication of disease spread. City labs are testing an average of 3,500-4,500 samples daily, of which more than 30% are turning out positive, which officials say is due to targeted testing.
In comparison, Delhi had a positivity rate of 26% last week, which the Union health ministry had said was a cause for concern. On certain days, an official said, positivity touches 40% as well. The average for the city, though (derived from overall samples tested since March [2.20lakh] and total positive cases [48,774]) is 22%. It may be noted that even the average positivity rate for the city had increased from 3% in early April to 6% by the middle of the month and around 12% by May. By the end of last month, it had touched 18%.
Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “There is nothing to be alarmed about the 30% daily positivity rate. We are going after people with symptoms. We are targeting people from fever clinics, high-risk contacts of positive patients, among others, all of whom have a high probability of coming positive. On certain days, when the samples are more or there are backlogs… positivity could be slightly higher.” He said that with a change in testing criteria, where even asymptomatic high-risk contacts of positive patients will be tested, more samples will be processed now. The civic body had recently come under criticism for stagnating the number of tests. The BMC has also taken out a circular that labs failing to submit reports within 24 hours may lose their licence. BMC claims to have carried out 16,922 tests per million compared to 4,354 by the state.