The Gujarat Health Department laid down further parameters of testing and for patients availing other medical procedures in government-run, private or corporate hospitals, in a fresh notification issued on Friday. The same allows for the testing of those who are due for delivery and are to undergo major or minor operations in the state. The notification stated that every month, nearly a lakh are admitted for delivery, minor and major operations across Gujarat. For the Covid-19 testing of such patients, 12 laboratories in the state have been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Apart from the criteria laid down by ICMR on who can take a Covid-19 test, the new notification allowed for the testing of pregnant women seven days before their estimated due date or prior to an emergency caesarean operation. It also allowed testing for those undergoing a pre-operative procedure to a major operation, pre-dialysis procedure, invasive procedure and for ship crew members before sign-ins or after sign-offs.
All these tests, however, would have to have the approvals of the respective chief district health officer or medical officer of health. In Ahmedabad district, the approval of GMERS Sola Medical superintendent is required.
ICMR guidelines allow the testing of all patients with severe acute respiratory infections or influenza-like illnesses, any symptomatic person who was in contact with a lab-confirmed Covid-19 patient, healthcare staff with Covid-19 symptoms and symptomatic persons who may have returned from abroad in the past 14 days.
Commenting on the state adopting a strategy to not test asymptomatic persons, Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi told this newspaper, “At the time when the state was testing asymptomatic persons, we were focusing on hotspots and on contact-tracing of those positive. At present, the number of cases have increased and we are looking at a more equitable distribution of testing; we cannot simply focus on Ahmedabad. Our labs are working round-the-clock and we have to ensure that our technicians are not fatigued. At the same time, we have to continue to maintain our tests per million.”
On Friday, the state tested 3,150 samples in a 24-hour cycle. Nearly 2,400 on May 14, the lowest number of samples taken in a 24-hour cycle in a month.
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