Bengaluru, Jan 22, 2022: Karnataka has conducted more than six crore Covid-19 tests since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. State Health and Family Welfare Minister K Sudhakar said Karnataka crossed the milestone on Saturday, becoming only the third state in the country to do so.
Congratulating healthcare workers and district administrations for the feat, Sudhakar added that extensive testing has always been a cornerstone in the state’s fight against the pandemic.
When the pandemic started in early 2020, National Institute of Virology (NIV) units were used to conduct tests. Besides, samples were sent to the NIV centre in Pune. “The government gradually established labs across the state and now we have around 268 testing facilities, including 99 government and 169 private labs. Karnataka has tested 6,01,14,815 samples, including 1,14,12,162 Rapid Antigen Test and 4,87,02,653 RT-PCR tests. While 1,41,96,065 samples were tested in 2020, 4,23,91,357 samples were tested in 2021 and so far, 35,27,393 tests have been conducted in 2022,” Sudhakar said in a press statement.
The minister further said, “We have set up 3,678 (3,102 govt and 666 private) swab collection centres, which is one each for every 20,000 persons. We have labs in government hospitals, medical colleges and also private hospitals. Initially, only 10-12 government labs had Covid testing facility… With 108 NA Extractors and 139 RT-PCR machines, we now have the capacity to test 1,20,800 samples per day in government facilities.”
After the emergence of the Omicron variant, the state government mandated that at least 2 per cent of total tests must be conducted at the airports. Now, the target has been further raised to around 1 lakh samples per day.
The minister said that considering the prediction of many health experts that the third wave would predominantly affect children, testing facilities for children were also ramped up. Between December 1 and January 20, 29 per cent of the total tests were conducted on children. The government was also conducting random RAT tests in schools, colleges, and restaurants once every 15 days, he said.The minister informed that the daily testing target has been increased to 2 lakh from January 18, and mobile units have been deployed to test mentally-challenged and differently-abled citizens.