The Delhi High Court Monday asked the Delhi government to try and increase Covid-19 testing via rapid antigen tests (RAT), in view of rising cases in the capital.
A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad said daily RAT numbers were “abysmal” as they were not reaching 50% of the target of 22,000 tests per day set by the government. “See if you can expand RAT numbers. Looking at the rate the (Covid) numbers are going up, the sooner you do, the better,” it said.
The court was hearing a plea by advocate Rakesh Malhotra, who sought directions to the government to ramp up testing facilities for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
The city on Monday saw 2,909 new cases, taking the total count to 62,655. The toll is 2,333, with 58 deaths seen in the last 24 hours.
The court’s observation came after Delhi government additional standing counsel Satyakam submitted that as of June 18, 15,012 samples were collected — 7,040 samples tested through RAT and 7,972 through RT PCR test. On June 21, 13,345 samples were collected — 9,356 tested through RAT and 3,989 through RT PCR.
He also said the government has targeted conducting 22,000 RATs per day (2,000 tests each in 11 districts). The bench observed, “Figures of testing done from June 18 onwards are abysmal. The Delhi government has not conducted more than 50% of tests.”
Satyakam said the court may examine figures after testing has been conducted till June 25.
As per the Delhi government, 19% of cases are being reported from containment zones. Officials said an epidemiological analysis of new cases shows that a majority of them are presenting as isolated sporadic cases and then becoming cluster cases. It said 45% of cases are showing features of clustering.
The government has also issued fresh SOPs for management of Covid positive patients. As per the L-G’s order, all who test positive will have to first report to Covid care centres.
Those who test positive in the rapid antigen test will be examined by the medical officer at the testing site to assess severity of illness. The officer will provide an oximeter and explain home isolation guidelines to patients with mild symptoms/are pre-symptomatic. If such patients cannot home isolate, they will be sent to Covid care centres. Those with moderate/severe illness will be referred to hospitals, and those with mild symptoms and co-morbidities like diabetes and hypertension will be shifted to Covid health centres or hospitals.
Those who undergo RT-PCR tests will be tracked by a team of district surveillance officers. If they are under home isolation, the team will make calls for at least 9 days. Another team will work on contact tracing. Officials said patients will be asked for a contact who could be the source of infection in the last 7-10 days. Those who need to be shifted to hospitals/health centres will be taken via ambulances.
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