(Eds: Updating with latest inputs) Guwahati, Jul 27 (PTI) Seven more COVID-19 patients died in Assam on Monday, taking the toll to 86, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
The state also reported 1,348 new cases, following which the tally climbed to 33,567.
The latest fatalities include a 26-year-old woman from Guwahati and a 59-year-old forest official from East Karbi Anglong district, he said.
A 72-year-old doctor from Dibrugarh and another person from Jorhat district also lost their lives due to the infection.
Three people, including a woman, from Tinsukia district also died during the day, the minister said.
There are 9,447 active cases at present, while 24,040 have recovered and three migrated out of the state, Sarma said Of the fresh cases, Guwahati reported 155.
Guwahati, which has reported over 13,500 cases so far, is seeing downward trend in positive cases, though the positivity rate is still at ten per cent, the minister said.
'We have to bring down the positivity rate to 5 per cent and for this, there is a need for aggressive testing,' the minister said while addressing health workers at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.
He said that 60 new COVID screening centres have been set up in Guwahati, taking the total strength to 103 and from Tuesday testing will be carried out in two shifts by the centres.
'In the first half, tests will be conducted at the screening centres while in the second half, the screening team will visit different areas to conducted random tests, following prior intimation,' Sarma said.
Each screening centre should test 50 samples daily and 'we will have to conduct at least 1,50,000 tests in Guwahati to completely reduce the number of positive cases', he said.
The recent lockdown, followed sincerely by the people of Guwahati, and the rapid antigen tests has helped to a great extent in containing the spread of the virus in the city to a considerable extent, he said.
So far, 1,208 Assam Police personnel have tested positive for COVID-19 and of them, four people have died.
Further, 936 recovered and 187 have rejoined duty, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) G P Singh said.
Sarma, who also holds the education portfolio, said that by September 1, the state has to consider reopening of educational institutions as students cannot suffer further because everyone does not have access to online education.
Meanwhile, two COVID-positive women gave birth to babies -- a girl and a boy -- by caesarean section at the Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital in Barpeta and Diphu Medical College Hospital, respectively.
The condition of both the babies and their mothers was stable, according to the doctors.
The state also got its 17th laboratory for testing samples for COVID-19 as the second facility at the Jorhat Medical College became functional during the day.
Over 7.74 lakh samples have been tested in the state so far. PTI DG SOM SOM