Assam reports 548 coronavirus cases; total count 8,955

Guwahati: Assam reported 548 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the total number of infections in the state to 8,955, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday.

So far, 12 people have died from the infection in the state.

In the past 24 hours, 378 cases were reported from Guwahati City alone, which is under a complete lockdown for 14 days since June 28 following a surge in the number of cases.

This is so far the second highest daily increase in infections. On Tuesday, the state had reported 613 cases, the highest in a day so far.

“In the past 24 hours, 378 cases were reported from Guwahati City. We request all to follow lockdown rules sincerely”, the minister tweeted.

Meanwhile, 184 patients were discharged from hospitals in the state, taking the number of recovered patients to 5,831.

The state has 3,109 active cases as of now.

Meanwhile, the Regional Medical Research Centre in Dibrugarh has become the fourth laboratory in the country to successfully isolate the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus, Sarma said.

The minister had earlier in the day announced at a press conference that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has directed the Assam government to adopt a new model to conduct 10,000 COVID-19 tests daily in Guwahati City.

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The new model, COVID-19 AG Test, will be a nasal swab test, the minister said.

A training programme for the medical staff that will conduct the tests will be held on Thursday and it will be launched either on Friday or Saturday in the 31 coronavirus screening centres in the city, the minister said.

Around two lakh testing kits have already arrived here and these “will take testing to the next level”, he said.

Meanwhile, the National Health Mission, Assam, launched a website where results of swab tests will be available and those tested can access these with the help of specimen reference numbers given to them during testing, he said.

Sarma said the primary reason for the community transmission of COVID-19 in Guwahati can be attributed to people moving around after giving their samples and not staying in home quarantine.

“If people, who may be positive, roam around after giving their samples, they become super spreaders and this amounts to a criminal offence”, he said.

The minister informed that Governor Jagadish Mukhi, his wife and 176 officials, security personnel and other staff deployed at the Raj Bhawan have also given their swab samples for testing after two personal security officers (PSO) tested positive for the infection.

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Assam has so far tested 4,19,878 samples and is next to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in the country as far as the number of tests is concerned.

The minister also inaugurated a testing laboratory in the state at Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital here.

The state will get seven more laboratories by July 15, Sarma said,

A plasma bank will be set up at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital by next week. A plasma separator has already been installed in the hospital.

The hospital will collect plasma strains from cured patients from next week, he said.

Guwahati City has currently 1,538 hospital beds, of which 987 have been occupied.

The minister inaugurated a 900-bedded COVID-19 care hospital at the Khanapara field, Guwahati, and it has individual rooms with attached bathrooms for patients.

A 450-bedded COVID-19 care hospital is also coming up at the Maniram Dewan trade centre in Guwahati and this will become functional soon.

“These measures shall strengthen our treatment capacity amid rising number of positive cases”, he said.

The minister also announced that henceforth home-cooked food in disposable containers can be given to patients with a family member depositing it at a collection centre.

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