More antigen tests than RT-PCR in Mumbai in 3 weeks, shows BMC data on Covid

RT-PCR tests contributed to 35% and 45% of total Covid tests conducted daily, while the remaining tests were rapid antigen tests, said BMC
Earlier, RT-PCR tests comprised 60% of the total Covid tests by BMC in Mumbai, while antigen tests were 40%. (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)
Earlier, RT-PCR tests comprised 60% of the total Covid tests by BMC in Mumbai, while antigen tests were 40%. (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Sep 08, 2021 12:22 AM IST
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By Eeshanpriya MS, Mumbai

Over the past three weeks, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been conducting more rapid antigen tests (RAT), in comparison to the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for patients suspected to be Covid-19 positive, data from the civic body has revealed.

Since around mid-August, RT-PCR tests contribute to around 35% and 45% of total Covid-19 tests conducted daily, while the remaining tests are rapid antigen tests. Prior to this, RT-PCR tests comprised around or more than 60% of the total tests conducted by the civic body.

Civic authorities have attributed the increase in antigen tests to increased testing at public places such as railway stations, bus stops, and municipal markets, since relaxations were eased in Mumbai from August 15.

However, all wards, especially in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai have now been directed to increase RT-PCR tests. Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner in charge of BMC’s public health department said, “We rely on RT-PCR tests to gauge trends, such as increase or decrease of positivity rate. I have directed all wards to ramp up RT-PCR testing. Antigen tests are being done in cases where we need to determine the results immediately and are being used for this reason alone.”

A senior civic official said, “As public places began to get crowded post-August 15, we have increased testing in such areas. However, at train stations, municipal markets, where mass testing takes place daily, we are using antigen tests. Hence the number of antigen tests conducted since this time has increased.”

In the last two weeks of August, Mumbai was conducting up to 45,000 tests per day, of which between 39% to 45% were RT-PCR tests, and the remaining were antigen tests. While the end of August saw a dip in Mumbai’s positivity rate, which dropped to below 1%, it has shot up to over 1% in September, with the exception of two days.

On September 1, Mumbai conducted 41,928 Covid-19 tests, and reported 415 cases, with a positivity rate of 0.98%. 43.4% of these were RT-PCR tests. On September 2, Mumbai conducted 37163 covid-19 tests, and reported 440 cases, with a positivity rate of 1.18%. 41.1% of these were RT-PCR tests. After September 1, Mumbai’s positivity rate dropped to below 1% only on September 7 (Tuesday), when Mumbai conducted 38484 tests, reported 349 cases. Of the total tests, 49.3% were RT-PCR tests.

So far, a total of 9,503,020 Covid-19 tests have been conducted in Mumbai, with an overall positivity rate of 7.8%. Mumbai has conducted 678,787 tests per million of the population.

Meanwhile, Mumbai on Tuesday crossed the 10,000,000-vaccination mark, as per data from BMC. As of Tuesday, 10,041,579 vaccine shots have been administered in Mumbai. Around 7,161,427 citizens have received their first dose, and 2,880,152 citizens have received both their vaccine shots.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021