Some glaring gaps were found in the COVID-19 test records in the Indian state of Bihar and, in order to check the test results, the Bihar Health Department announced on Saturday that it would set up 10 teams.
Covid testing data from all 38 districts in the state would be checked by these teams randomly, a report by The Indian Express noted.
An investigation started in more than 26 districts, and notices were sent to medical officers in charge of primary health centres. It should be noted that the IE initiated this investigation and visited six PHCs in Sheikhpura, Jamui and Patna and accessed testing records for 16, 18 and 25 January.
As many as 885 entries were monitored at these PHCs and during a discussion with many workers, it was noticed that the simple data protocol was bypassed in order to reach the regular target. It contained fudged mobile numbers along with false names and suspicious entries, the study noted.
Records from two districts – Jamui and Sheikpura – showed that, in some cases, the people surveyed had mobile numbers in their data that were owned by unrelated people. With such information errors, contact-tracking during a pandemic is likely to be challenging, particularly in positive cases of COVID-19.
State Health Department Principal Secretary Pratyaya Amrit accepted this and discussed the irregularities found in the districts of Bihar. Amrit said the departmental inquiry against those held responsible had begun and it would be ensured that those found guilty had to face action.
He said they had conducted random probes in 26 districts and also found some gaps in a number of phone numbers. Although physical probes also indicated that the checks have already been carried out, medical officers are issued with a show-cause warning for insufficient data preparation. “Offenders cannot undermine the efforts of those who risked everything they could to counter the onslaught of Coronavirus,” the report quoted Amrit as saying.
Of the 885 test entries that were tabulated, only 230 confirmed that they had been tested. There were 325 entries with 10 zeroes under mobile numbers, or the communication columns were left blank. Nine officials were also suspended.
Meanwhile, an official in Begusarai said that they could not risk something and give in under pressure to reach the test deadline. Now they’re still looking for some records and writing down full addresses just in case there’s no phone number.
People can be traced this way. It should be noted that the state is testing about 20,000 RT-PCR samples a day, and several districts have done away with regular antigen testing targets.