Bengaluru is seeing a high death rate during the second wave while labs take more than 72 hours to give results.
Bengaluru:Covid test laboratories in the city are failing to provide RT-PCR results within 24 hours. The Karnataka High Court passed an order on April 17, asking all government and private labs to give out results within 24 hours of swab collection. However, the city’s laboratories fail to deliver.
Labs reiterate they are overworked and need at least 48 to 72 hours to give reports.
On the other hand, netizens of Bengaluru are having a hard time dealing with Covid infections. “I was starting to show symptoms of Covid. So I quickly went to a government testing lab, but there was no one ready to take a test. I had to wait four to five hours. Then I went to a private lab but they hadn’t given out results for more than four days now. So I self-isolated myself and got a home visit booked, while the doctor gave me medicines. I got my results after three days of testing,” said Nitesh. K, a Covid-19 recovered patient.
After the HC order, the BBMP Health Department on April 21 sent out a notice that a fine will be levied on labs that don’t comply with the new rules. Aarthi Scans and Labs said they can declare results only after 48 hours because of “technical issues” and that BBMP had not done any checking regarding the issue. Many other labs in the city claimed the same. The health department has not taken any action against labs. The department refused to comment on the issue when asked how many were fined in the city.
“We charge around 800 rupees for the RT-PCR test. See we collect the samples of 150 to 200 people every day. Some are home testing and many are walk-ins. It at least takes 5 to 6 hours to do one testing. There are many collection centres but only one testing lab. We can’t give results in 24 hours,” said Sahil.S from Kempegowda Medical Sciences, a Covid-19 testing centre.
Experts have multiple times said that early testing can help bring down the severity of the infection. Doctors say by the 5th-day patients start to show symptoms and by the 9th day, the infection worsens. It is very difficult to treat such patients and hence early testing is a must.
“ Early testing is needed. It takes a few hours to get a result. This could save a lot of lives. If you’re showing symptoms you should isolate yourself immediately. I think the new self-testing kits can help reduce the load of labs,” said Dr.Issac, a tele-consultant for Covid-19.
Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions will launch India’s first self-use rapid antigen test (RAT) kit for Covid-19. The product is set to be launched on June 1. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently cleared the ‘Coviself’ for home use.
Earlier the month of April the civic body had stopped random testing in public places as laboratories were overwhelmed and focused on community transmission. As of today, Bengaluru reported over 7500 cases and 362 deaths. In May alone 778 Covid patients died in home isolation. Karnataka’s positivity rate now stands at 20.7 percent.