In Ghaziabad, patients asked to wait for 3 days for getting RT-PCR test reports
Ghaziabad: With number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases rising again, testing centres in the Ghaziabad district are being stretched thin, with residents complaining that they are being asked to wait as many as two-three days to get reports for an reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
According to the district health department, the waiting time for reports has increased due to a rise in the number of cases and engagement of technicians and staff in Covid management duties in the district.
The RT-PCR method is considered the golden standard for testing to detect the Sars-Cov-2, the strain which causes the coronavirus disease. Usually, the result of an RT-PCR takes about 10 hours, and patients usually get their reports within 24 hours of testing.
The other testing method – through rapid antigen kits – is faster and cheaper and can furnish a result in under an hour, but is not always a reliable source.
“People come as early as 7am-8am at testing centres and keep waiting for staff to arrive. On Thursday, staff arrived at 11am after which testing began. Till then, people were roaming around the hospital. I have had breathing issues and cough for the past two days. They told me that my report will come in two-three days. This is very confusing. If I test positive, my treatment should start early,” said Sheru Pal, a resident of Mehrauli who runs a dairy business, who came to a testing centre at the Sanjay Nagar Covid-designated hospital.
Rajendra Kumar Khadka, a resident of Model Town who came with his wife who had fever for the past two days, said: “We both came to get tested. The staff told us that reports will take another two days. They told us to take precautions and said that the delay of two days in getting reports is due to an increase in the number of people arriving for tests. Me and my wife are staying in separate rooms now and are taking all precautions,” he added.
According to the state control room records, the Ghaziabad district is among one of the high case load districts in Uttar Pradesh. For the past five days, the district has been reporting more than a 100 new cases daily, with 159 cases on April 10, 155 on April 11, 187 on April 12, 199 on April 13 and 277 on April 14.
The health department, meanwhile, stressed on the need for reports to be delivered within 24 hours.
“At present, we are getting reports in two-three days as we have to send samples outside the district and the number of people getting tested nowadays is also increasing. During this gap, all who get tested must observe precautions and preferably stay indoors and in separate rooms. The spread of the infection this time is faster than last year,” said an official from the health department, asking not to be named.
District magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said that officials were trying to reduce the delay in getting test reports.
“There are a lot of efforts and resources devoted to tackle the Covid situation. We will now ensure that those coming to the testing centres receive a pamphlet in which all precautions to be observed will be written, and it will be given to the person being tested. We will recommend that they remain in quarantine at home till the time they get their test results. Staff at testing centres will also be directed to tell people about adherence to home quarantine,” the DM said.
Ghaziabad has 14 static testing booths, apart from nine mobile testing teams which visit different areas to conduct tests. The district has a target of conducting 1,700 RT-PCR tests and 3,700 daily tests through rapid antigen kits. Officials said that they can, at most, conduct 2,000 RT-PCR tests a day.
According to experts, Covid-19 is more virulent this year and extra precautions are needed.
“It spreads fast. In present times, it is seen that children are also getting affected. So, the masses must be made aware to take all precautions and maintain social distancing, even at home. In case of delayed test results, people should be encouraged to stay indoors till their reports arrive. Otherwise, they may end up passing on the infection to others. Nowadays, there is a lot of waiting at private labs too,” said Dr VB Jindal, former president of Indian Medical Association (Ghaziabad).
For testing, the state government has prescribed rates through an order issued April 13.
The order said that the rate would be ₹700 (including GST) in case samples are sent by private hospitals to private labs or when people go to private labs for testing.
It added that the rate would be ₹900 (including GST) in case private labs collect samples from the patient’s home. It also said that the rate would be ₹500 (including GST) in case a designated officer of the government sends samples to private labs for testing.
The testing at government centres is free of cost.