HYDERABAD: The state government informed the Telangana High Court on Tuesday that it had left out more than 37,000 potentially Covid-19 positive persons from the daily count of fresh cases between May 6 and May 30.
However, this startling number was not provided directly but was hidden
amidst the numbers distributed under different heads, and buried in a set of
data sheets on Covid-19 in Telangana.
Included in these documents was an affidavit filed by the Director of Public
Health, as part of the state’s submissions to the court, which is hearing
public interest litigations (PILs) on Covid management in Telangana state.
As part of the affidavit, the government informed the court that 16,01,040
Covid-19 outpatient consultations were registered and services provided
across the state between May 6 and May 30. During the same time, 2,96,829
patients were given Covid-19 medical kits.
Similarly, during this period, a state-wide fever survey was conducted to
detect possible Covid-19. The survey covered 17,53,112 households, during
which time, 3,60,634 medical kits were distributed to symptomatic people. In
all, between May 6 and 30, the state health authorities distributed 6,57,453
medical kits during out-patient services and additionally as part of the
household fever survey.
Further, as part of the affidavit, the Telangana state health authorities
informed the High Court that the average positivity rate, which determines
how many people are getting infected out of every hundred, stood at 6.39 per
cent for the period between May 1 and May 29.
However, the average positivity rate for the period between May 6 and May 30
stood at 5.72 per cent, according to additional information provided in the
affidavit, and as culled from daily Covid-19 bulletins.
As can be recalled, the state government had announced that these two
exercises - household fever surveys and outpatient Covid medical kits
distribution – were to ensure early identification of symptomatic persons
and treating them instead of focusing on testing and getting results. Health
officials described testing as a time-consuming process that left any
Covid-19 positive patient open to infecting others during the wait for the
test results to come.
If this premise of "detecting and providing" medical kits to "untested but
symptomatic Covid-19 cases" was the one Telangana health authorities
believed, then, among the total of 6,57,453 people given medical kits, as
per official positivity rate of 5.72 per cent, Telangana state possibly had
37,606 Covid-19 patients who were never tested and included in the official
As per data provided in daily Covid-19 bulletins, new Covid-19 cases between
May 6 and May 30 – the ones that were found through testing which are the
only ones listed as confirmed Covid cases – stood at 94,187. This number
could have been 1,31,793 had all symptomatic people found as part of
treatment been tested, and assuming the positivity rates provided by health
authorities are true. If not, the number could be even higher.