In just nine days, Telanganaâ€™s caseload for July surpassed the total number of cases the state had recorded for the month of June. If one goes by the data from the media bulletins issued by the state government, the rate of positive cases spiking in Telangana corresponds to the state's efforts to boost testing.
It was on June 8 that Telangana opened up its shops and establishments beginning the process of unlocking the state. In the first nine days of June, the state reported 1,116 positive cases, while in comparison the first nine days of July clocked 14,607 positive cases. This figure is higher than the total positive cases witnessed by Telangana for all of June, at 13,534.
As of Saturday, there are 12,680 patients considered active cases undergoing treatment, while 19,205 persons have been discharged from hospitals. The state has so far reported a total of 32,224 positive cases and 339 deaths.
The Telangana government is currently attempting to ramp up testing once again introducing Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits. The state has rolled out the kits at Medchal, Rangareddy and parts of Hyderabad on July 9. But the efforts come after unexplained dragging of feet by the Telangana government all through April and May.
The Telangana government was on the docks with the Centre, the High Court and Opposition political parties over its poor testing numbers. The sample data released by the state on April 27 showed 18,687 samples tested that day. The following day, the samples tested stood at 18,894, indicating the state tested just 207 samples in a span of 24 hours.
On May 10, the first flight as part of the Vande Bharath mission, a flight from Kuwait with 163 passengers arrived in Hyderabad. At the time, the state was only screening the passengers and sending them on an mandatory 14-day quarantine. Only those showing any of the COVID-19 symptoms were tested.
Even towards the end of May, the state had a capacity to do just 2,000 RT-PCR tests through nine government laboratories. Despite 17 private laboratories getting permits from ICMR to carry out testing in April, the nod to allow private diagnostic laboratories to begin testing came only on June 15.
From June 1 to 15 the state had recorded 2566 positive cases. In the next fifteen days, the numbers climbed to 11,146 positive cases, a 21.4% increase in positive cases.
On June 15, the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao announced that his government intends to scale up testing in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation limits. The plan was to conduct 50,000 tests in 30 assembly constituencies of Hyderabad over a span of 10 days. The same day private diagnostic laboratories began testing samples.
The 11,146 positive cases tested between June 16 and 30 were results of tests carried out from 42,818 samples. Despite the samples tested data being available only from June 16, the state showed a 26.94% positivity rate until June 30. The positivity rate here means the percentage between the samples tested and the positive cases.
From June 27 to June 30, the state did not accept any new samples from swab collection centres citing backlogs. The Telangana High court issued a threat of contempt and sought a report over the issue on July 17. From July 2, most of the 18 private diagnostic testing laboratories with ICMR approval stopped testing following government backlash over testing quality and data mismanagement.
On July 4, 13 private labs were served notices for reporting high positive rates against samples tested. An expert committee that inspected the labs found that on July 3 one of the labs had reported 2,672 positive cases against 3,726 total samples tested, a positivity rate of 71.7%.The state director of public health G Srinivasa Rao withdrew the results citing that the samples could have been contaminated.
In the first eight days of July, the state has managed to test 46,238 samples of which 13,197 tested positive, a positivity rate of 28.54%. On July 9, the state rolled out Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits and tested 5,954 samples. The next day the state reported a total of 10,354 samples being tested, almost doubling the testing count in a day, but for the large number of samples tested only 1,278 positive cases were detected.
Of the total 32,224 COVID-19 positive cases reported from Telangana, 19,205 persons have been discharged as of Friday, the state has about 12,680 persons considered active cases undergoing treatment at hospitals.