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Wrong addresses hinder COVID-19 contact tracing in Nagaland

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, MAY 10: Healthcare and frontline workers in Nagaland, fighting hard to contain the second wave of COVID-19 in the State, are now encountering a fresh challenge ~ people giving wrong information.
The most common gap in data comes in the form of incomplete addresses, while some are deliberately giving wrong personal information thereby adversely affecting surveillance activities.


“In these crucial times when our frontline and healthcare workers are stretched to the maximum, some travellers are found to be giving wrong personal information (phone number, age, address) at the point of entry and to the contact tracing teams, which adversely affect the surveillance activities to check the transmission of COVID-19,” rued Dr Imkongtemsu Longchar, Deputy Director, IEC Bureau, Directorate of Health & Family Welfare.
Health officials said when report come back positive, authorities have to contact them for medical assistance as well as their contact tracing, but often they are unable to due to wrong addresses and phone numbers. The entire exercise of testing and tracing becomes useless when patients do not submit their actual addresses and contact numbers to the authorities, officials said.
A health worker in Dimapur lamented that after making multiple attempts to call the given number go unanswered, they even send ground teams to the address provided but it also turns out to be cases of giving wrong addresses.
Giving wrong information takes a huge toll on manpower management as well as lost of crucial time in isolating positive cases, another frontline worker said.
Some people give wrong addresses deliberately, afraid about what might happen if they test positive, he rued.
Dr Imkongtemsu also informed that some people already tested positive are found running from one laboratory to another for a “retest/confirmation” endangering the community in the process.
“A positive by any COVID-19 Test (RT-PCR, Truenat and RAT) is a 100% confirmed positive anywhere in the world,” he stated.
However, the doctor admitted that there can be false negative tests depending on the sensitivity of the test and the timing of sampling. He advised such persons to undergo home isolation or get admitted in private hospital or Government health institution depending upon his/her medical condition.


Dr Imkongtemsu also requested Village Councils/Urban Local Bodies, under the supervision of District Task Force (DTF), to continue to monitor strict adherence to quarantine norms and to report immediately to the local administrative officers/DTF for taking suitable action for any breach of quarantine norms by any such persons.
The Deputy Director informed all concerned that any person who is tested positive for COVID-19 or is found to be a close contact not cooperating with the surveillance teams or not providing information or providing wrong/false information or found withholding information for the purpose of contact tracing or refusal for COVID-19 testing by any person who have been traced as close contact or found indulging in any practices endangering the community, shall be liable for punishment as per the provision of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 and other relevant provision of the laws.
(Page News Service)

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