He added that this would be achieved through random testing — both in the community and in schools and colleges — and priority districts such as Bengaluru and those with a high test positivity rate would implement this sooner than other districts.
“But the strategy is for all districts to begin this, and it should happen soon,” he said. While Dr Manjunath did not elaborate any further, another official said that the focus on children is being advised as that category is not part of the inoculation drive and had been largely protected in the previous waves by containment measures.
Karnataka, whose 2020 peak testing was 1,589 per million each day, has been doing more tests each month since the second wave hit the state with the highest achievement reported in June.
While the state crossed the 4-crore milestone earlier this month, nearly 48% of these tests — more than 1.9 crore — have been conducted in just four-and-a-half months since April. As of August 15, the state had conducted 4.09 crore tests, and the overall positivity rate stood at 0.86%.
With more than 22.6 lakh tests conducted in the first 15 days of August, the state has conducted at least 2,250 tests per million (TPM) every day on average, which is nearly at par with the number of tests done overall in June.
While August testing is already about 41% more than the first wave peak — 1,589 TPM reported in November 2020 — officials said that the month could end with more tests done than even in June.
As reported by TOI earlier, overall testing in the state has been reasonably high, although some experts believe that it could be improved further, given that some states and UTs like Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Delhi, have reported a higher TPM than Karnataka in recent weeks.
Dr Manjunath said: “At around 1.5 lakh tests per day, the numbers we are doing at present is very good as the overall positivity rate except in some districts is under 1%. But if need arises, the target will be increased to about 1.75 lakh to even 2 lakh per day.”
At the present rate, Karnataka would end August with around 45.2 lakh tests, but officials said that the state could end up with more tests than that, which would make the average tests the highest since the pandemic broke in early 2020