Panaji: The Goa government has sought the permission of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for using convalescent plasma therapy to treat COVID-19 patients, health minister Vishwajit Rane said on Tuesday (July 7).

He said the state has all the required facilities to store blood plasma.

Goa has so far recorded 1,813 COVID-19 cases, of which 745 are active while seven have succumbed to the infection.

"The state government has already written to the ICMR seeking their nod to treat COVID-19 patients using the plasma therapy. We will procure the latest equipment to derive plasma from recovered patients," Rane told reporters in Pernem.

The therapy involves taking antibodies from the blood of a person who has recovered from COVID-19 and transfusing those antibodies into an active coronavirus patient to help kick-start the immune system to fight the infection.

He said the government will recruit more doctors to expand the current testing capacity, and will also procure additional ambulances under the existing 108 initiative in view of the growing number of COVID-19 patients.

Rane referred to an incident wherein a COVID-19 patient from Taleigao village near Panaji was forced to wait for hours for an ambulance.

A record 125 people were discharged after recovery from COVID-19 in Goa on Monday, beating the 111-mark set a day earlier, while 52 new cases took the state's count to 1,813, an official said.

The number of active cases is 745 as 1,061 people have been discharged and seven have succumbed to the infection, he added.

"On Monday, 1,606 samples were tested, of which 52 were positive, 1,188 negative and 366 reports are awaited. A total of 125 people recovered on Monday, which is a single-day record for the state. The number of people recovering in Mangor Hill containment zone is also promising. Currently, it has only 99 active cases, down from 250," he said.

Goa's COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases: 1813, new cases: 52, deaths: 07, discharged: 1061, active cases 745, Samples tested till date: 77,033.

The state plans to expand the scope of COVID-19 testing in the state by designating special teams at the primary health centres and community health centres to collect samples of suspected coronavirus patients, Rane said on Monday.

Currently, samples for COVID-19 testing are collected only at the district hospitals in Margao (South Goa) and Mapusa (North Goa), and the sub-district hospital in Ponda (North Goa).

Goa reported 77 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking the total count to 1,761.

There have been seven deaths so far due to the disease in the coastal state.

"After deliberations with chief minister Pramod Sawant, we have taken a decision to recruit new teams on a contractual basis to designate them at the primary health centres (PHCs) and community health centres (CHCs), and they will report to the respective health officers," Rane said.

They will be dedicatedly working to collect samples and co-ordinate with the testing centres, the minister said in a statement issued on Sunday evening.

"Our aim is to move forward in a very progressive manner with teams attached to every PHC and CHC, along with an increased scope of testing, as suggested by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)," Rane said.

"This way, the existing staff of the PHCs and CHCs will be used only for regular activities, as it is the need of the hour," he said.

The state government will also streamline the supply of food at COVID care centres and it would be monitored by the health secretary from time to time, he added.