Private labs can’t collect medical samples for Covid-19 testing from home: BMC

Updated on Apr 29, 2020 06:47 AM IST
Till now, people could either call the helpline number of the BMC seeking requests for Covid-19 tests or get in touch private laboratories for the collection of samples from home.
BMC has decided to stop the collection of medical samples from home by private laboratories for Covid-19 testing
BMC has decided to stop the collection of medical samples from home by private laboratories for Covid-19 testing
Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByRupsa Chakraborty, Mumbai

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to stop the collection of medical samples from home by private laboratories for Covid-19 testing. Citizens will now have to go to fever clinics or visit private laboratories to get tested.

Till now, people could either call the helpline number of the BMC seeking requests for Covid-19 tests or get in touch private laboratories for the collection of samples from home. However, there have been complaints that the private labs are not submitting reports on time.

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Apart from this, the BMC has received several other complaints about violation of testing rules, leading to the decision to stop the home collection facility.

“We are going to stop home collection of samples. Now, fever clinics will collect samples from suspected patients if they show any symptoms or have comorbid ailments,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner (health), BMC.

According to the BMC, under the new plan, any symptomatic person; high-risk patients on dialysis or chemotherapy, and women who are over 36 weeks pregnant can call the BMC’s helpline number, 1916 and get directed to a fever clinic.

“If the doctor at a fever clinic thinks the individual requires testing, the medical staff will collect the samples and send them to our laboratories for testing. This will be free of cost,” said Kakani.

People who want to opt for a private testing facility and pay the charge of 4,500, can visit private laboratories directly. After scrutiny, if the person falls into the criteria for testing, the lab will collect the samples.

Though the BMC has put a cap of 4,500 on tests, private labs charge around 7,000, inclusive of the cost of personal protective equipment and service charges.

78% cases diagnosed via contact tracing

According to data provided by BMC, almost 78% of the city’s Covid-19 patients were diagnosed through contact tracing Till Monday evening, over 5,700 people in Mumbai were diagnosed with Covid-19, of which around 4,500 were identified through contact tracing of infected people

“We have so many asymptomatic patients because we could identify them before they started showing symptoms,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, BMC.

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