West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a press conference on Wednesday that the West Bengal government is going to start a special survey in all 23 districts of the state to monitor the changing field situation in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. The survey will be carried out to prepare for future planning.

“A special survey which is called the sentinel survey will be conducted in every district of the state to know the COVID-19 prevalence in population over a period of time. This survey will help us see the effect of withdrawal of lockdown and help us formulate strategy to combat the further spread of infection in the community. West Bengal is the first state in India to start this community survey for COVID-19,” Ms Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.

The TMC supremo further said the large-scale movement of stranded people in Bengal from all over the country will need close monitoring of changing field situations in every district. To tackle this new challenge, the state will need to be geared up for meeting.

“The sentinel survey is one of the strategies used globally for large-scale preparation for meeting the challenges of the spread of pandemic or epidemic at the community-level. It studies the pattern of the disease affecting the population belonging to low-risk as well as high-risk categories,” Ms Banerjee said. As per the plan, every week 200 samples will be collected from every district, said a senior oficial.

“People surveyed will be divided into groups low-risk and high-risk. Pregnant women and general OPD patients without any chest symptoms will be low-risk group and healthcare workers including ANM/Asha will be high-risk groups,” the official said.

“The data from the survey will help us develop a dynamic, real-time response to COVID-19 at field level. The nature of lockdown, containment zones, health infrastructure strengthening, deployment of health personal, risk profile of all our frontline health workers,” he added.

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