COVID-19: What is Haridwar doing to keep the positivity rate so low?

Express News Service
DEHRADUN: Among all 13 districts of Uttrakhand Haridwar has risen to the status of an enigma. 

Data from the Uttarakhand state health department reveals that despite the highest number of tests conducted in the last week, the positivity rate of the district for Covid-19 remains the lowest in the state. 

Between the duration of April 23-29, a total of 1,44,664 tests was conducted out of which 7584 samples were found positive for Covid-19 with a positivity rate of 5.2%. 

The highest positivity rate in this duration was recorded in Nainital district with 25.2% followed by Dehradun (21.6%), Tehri (21%), Udham Singh Nagar (20.7%), Uttarkashi (19.5%), Chamoli (19.2%), Pauri (18.6%), Champawat (17.8%), Almora (14.6%), Pithoragarh, Rudraprayag with (13.8%) each and Bageshwar (10.1%). 

Experts have started to question the data of Haridwar, especially the positivity rate. 

Anoop Nautiyal, whose Social Development for Communities Foundation is analysing the Covid data since March 2020 said, “There is a stark 392% positivity rate (PR) difference. The Holy gathering in the Maha Kumbh that attracted over 91 lakh pilgrims saw Haridwar district reporting 2.8% PR with 16,519 cases from 5,91,902 test from April 1-29. In contrast, the remaining 12 districts in Uttarakhand have 13.8% PR with 57,937 cases from 4,20,792 tests in the same period. Authorities must share the measures they are implementing with the country.”

In Nainital, a total of 17,062 samples were tested, out of which 4300 were found positive, while Dehradun tested a total of 63,754 samples detecting 1,37,999 of those positive. 

A total 4477 samples were tested in Tehri out of which 941 were found positive, in US Nagar out of 15746, 3266 samples were found positive, in Uttarkashi a total of 4447 samples were tested out of which 865 were found positive. 

In Chamoli district, 4839 samples were tested out of which 928 were detected positive, in Pauri out of 9776 samples tested, 1816 were found positive, in Champawat out of 6061, a total of 1080 samples were found positive while in Almora, out of 6505, a total 952 samples tested positive.

In the Pithoragarh district out of  3647 samples tested, 505 came back positive, in Rudraprayag out of 3071 samples tested, 423 were found to be positive while in Bageshwar district out of 3938, a total of 398 samples was tested positive for Covid-19. 

Meanwhile, the number of active cases in Uttarakhand reached 49,492 with 5654 new positive cases detected on Friday. 

The positivity rate of the state was recorded at 4.77% with a recovery rate of 69%. 

The state has vaccinated a total of 16,60,499 people out of which 4,10,918 have got the second dose too. 

Officials of the state government said that they will soon get 1,22,108 doses of Covishield vaccine while 42,370 doses of Covaxin to start vaccination drive for people of age group in 18-44 age bracket.

The officials also added that this may take a week or so. 

Amit Negi, the state health secretary said, “We are in touch with the vaccine manufacturers and the center. We will start the drive as soon as we get the supply but it is not possible before a week or so.”

Despite repeated efforts by TNIE, officials from the Haridwar district health department were not available for comment.