With thousands of Covid-19 tests carried out on average every day, questions have been raised regarding the way the whole testing infrastructure is working, with delays in results and contradictory reports causing a strain on the public.
One such example, which makes clear that the state’s facilities are failing in their ability to bring out results in a timely fashion and shows up the government’s claim that it has enough testing facilities that are running smoothly, is a case of four members of a family who were told that they were positive for the coronavirus only ten days after their swab samples were taken at the testing facility in Polo here.
Sources said that the doctor in charge of that locality found it difficult to reply when asked how such a thing could happen.
On receiving the delayed results, the family immediately rushed a private hospital to get themselves retested and these results came back negative.
The most recent test was undertaken using TruNat, while the first one was an RT-PCR test whose samples were sent to NEIGRIHMS for analysis.
These cases are among the several that suggest a lackadaisical management of Covid-19 testing centres.
Sources said that a Health Department worker had informed the family over the phone that they were positive. But no hard copy of this crucial information was provided to them.
It is learnt that when they asked the person for a written document, the person said she is only passing on information from the department. So far, no hard copy of the claimed result has been given to them.
With such a long gap between testing and report, how safety protocols can be maintained is hard to comprehend.
As per directions from the Health Department, the family members stayed in quarantine for the mandatory ten-day period.
During this time they were instructed to check their temperature and other symptoms and enter them in a diary provided by the Health Department for this purpose.
Observations were to be informed to their assigned Medical Surveillance Officer (MSO) daily, who was to decide whether there is a need for hospitalisation or not on the basis of the entries.
None of the family developed symptoms of the disease even though one of them is a diabetic. However, the positive tag foisted on them at such a late stage created immense stress on them. They apparently asked for the results daily from the MSO and were told they would be updated online, but this never happened.
Such incidents feed the insecurity of the public, some of whom have already experienced an erosion of confidence in the government’s ability to manage the pandemic.