JORHAT, May 30: State health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma inaugurated the eighth COVID-19 testing facility at North East Institute of Science and Technology here on Saturday.
Addressing media persons on the occasion Sarma said that this was the first facility outside of the six medical colleges in the state and the laboratory of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) at Lahowal in Dibrugarh district which would aid in testing of the novel coronavirus.
Sarma said that this would further aid in the state’s fight against the killer virus.
“We have till date tested 85,000 people and within two or three days hope to achieve 1 lakh. This laboratory at NEIST will further the testing capacity,” the minister said.
He said that the state was indebted to the director and dedicated scientists of NEIST for coming forward at this hour of crises with such a facility.
Sarma further informed that by June 15 the state hoped to have at least 12 testing facilities. These would be the Indian Institute of Advance Science in Guwahati, Diphu Medical College & Hospital (DMCH), DRDO, Tezpur and another one at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).
The minister said that Assam had been so far successful in staving off an epidemic due to testing and strict enforcement of quarantine facilities.
“Those returning from outside the state and testing positive are mostly young workers who are recovering but if they are not quarantined and would be allowed to go and mix with the elders in their villages then the situation would have gone out of hand,” he said.
The director of NEIST G Narahari Sastry had earlier said that as the research laboratory had expertise in micro biology and molecular biology with required laboratory facilities and government laboratories operational under CSIR were authorised to take up testing of COVID-19, an initiative to set up the laboratory was undertaken.
Dr Sastry said the laboratory would be able to carry out tests on nearly 100 samples within 3 to 4 hours under the RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) method.
Sarma later went to Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) and released 4 patients who had earlier tested positive for COVID-19 taking the total to nine for those who had recovered and been released.
Jorhat deputy commissioner Roshni A Korati said that with five new cases testing positive the total had gone upto 67 in JMCH. This included 11 of Jorhat, 43, Golaghat, 6 of Sivasagar, 1 of Majuli, and 7 of Tinsukia.
Earlier Sarma had inspected the institutional quarantine facility at Kaziranga University.