Mumbai civic body records 3% positivity rate at free Covid-19 testing centres
The 244 free Covid-19 testing centres started by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are getting good response. Since its inauguration in November first week, more than one lakh citizens have voluntarily gotten themselves tested, of whom 3% were found to carry the pathogen of Covid-19.
With the intention to bring testing facilities to the doorsteps of the citizen, the civic body started centre across all 24 wards. The addresses of the centres can be accessed by calling the toll free number — 1916 — run by BMC’s main control room, and on the dedicated Covid-19 website. The centre conducts both reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and rapid antigen tests.
Any individual who develops symptoms of Sars-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, or has come in contact with an infected patient can undertake undergo the tests at these centres free of cost.
Classical Covid-19 symptoms include fever, cough, cold, difficulty in breathing and pneumonia.
“Individuals can walk-in to any nearby centre and undergo the test which is free of cost. This has encouraged people to undergo tests. But we have seen that the positivity rate is only 3%, which is much lesser than the city’s cumulative positivity rate,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, BMC.
Due to the rise in the number of daily Covid-19 testing which has increased to over 17,000, the positivity rate has dropped from 16% to 15% on November 28.
Health activists have welcomed the civic body’s initiative. Dr Ravikant Singh, a health activist, said, “Either civic hospitals, which provide free testing, were far off or individuals couldn’t afford the expenses at private laboratories. So, this has given an affordable solution to the people near their houses.”
The state government has already reduced the rates of tests conducted at private laboratories. A test at a private lab now costs ₹1,400 while a sample taken from home is charged ₹1,800.
In the next phase, BMC will start testing domestic maids, security guards, delivery boys who are most exposed, and therefore, vulnerable to the public and can turn into super spreaders. “We have already started testing public vehicle drivers along with vegetable vendors,” said Kakani.
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