Covid hospitals in Bengal to conduct rapid antigen tests on all patients in SARI wards
The West Bengal government has directed Covid hospitals in the state to conduct Rapid Antigen Tests on all patients who show up with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI).
This would help in the early detection of Covid-19 positive cases and start the treatment, which in turn would help to bring down the death rate further, officials said.
“Rapid Antigen Testing to be arranged at SARI wards so that Covid positive patients can be identified immediately and treated for Covid-19 without delay,” said an order issued by the Bengal government to all Covid hospitals on Monday.
The state government in a door-to-door survey has identified around 8,700 SARI cases and around 4.5 lakh cases of Influenza-like Illness.
In mid-June there were 4,337 cases of SARI and 1.9 lakh cases of Influenza-like Illness.
SARI involves the history of a fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 F) and cough for over 10 days. Severe forms of SARI – including severe pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), sepsis and septic shock – can lead to death in Covid-19 patients.
Even though the Mamata Banerjee administration has been able to bring down the death rate from more than 13% in May which was the highest among all states, to around 1.9% on September 28, it is still higher than the national average.
At present India’s case fatality rate or death rate is around 1.5%. The Centre is working towards bringing the national death rate down to 1% or below.
“In a meeting held in August, the state government was advised by the Centre to ensure that at least in 80% of the fresh Covid-19 cases and all close contacts need to be traced and tested within three days,” said a health department official.
A few states, including West Bengal, were also asked by the Centre to conduct at least 140 tests per million per day in all districts while targeting a positivity rate of less than 5%. At present Bengal has a positivity rate of 7.9%. West Bengal has so far reported 2,50,580 Covid-19 cases and 4,837 deaths.