Patna, Aug 21 (PTI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday asked officials to ramp up Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests in order to identify people afflicted with COVID-19 and treat them to help prevent the spread of the disease.
The state has a high population density and hence everyone needs to remain more alert and vigilant regarding protecting oneself from getting infected with the virus, the chief minister said at a meeting to review the COVID-19 situation in the state.
'The number of RT-PCR tests should be increased further. There is a need to increase testing in those districts which have witnessed high number of active COVID-19 cases. Testing should also be increased in riverine and 'taal' (low lying areas filled with water most of the time) areas, Kumar said.
He asked officials to ensure availability of RT-PCR machines at the earliest so that the number of tests can be increased.
'More and more testing will help in identifying people infected with COVID-19. Their treatment would further help prevent the spread of the infection,' the CM said at the meeting held via video-conference.
He asked officials to keep themselves updated with the latest COVID figures to formulate strategies to deal with the pandemic.
People need to be informed of the benefits of wearing masks, the chief minister said.
Health department's Principal Secretary Pratyaya Amrit informed Kumar that the total number of tests has increased from 8,70,852 on August 7 to 22,28,516 till date.
The state's recovery rate has also increased to 78.05 per cent from 64.44 per cent during the period, he said that the national average is now 74.30 per cent.
Around 1.15 lakh samples are being done every day now through RTPCR, TrueNat and Rapid Antigen methods, the officer said.
A 500-bed COVID hospital will become functional from August 23 at Bihta in Patna district, he said adding that another such facility would become operational in Muzaffarpur soon.
The first COBAS 8800 machine which can test 3,600 samples per day will reach the state by September 3, he said.
Health Minister Mangal Pandey, Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar and other senior officers attended the meeting. PTI AR NN NN