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Delhi: Private labs swamped with calls for Covid tests, facilities burdened, reports delayed

In the last 10 days, the city has witnessed a massive rise in Covid-19 infections with over 66,000 people testing positive. The daily positivity rate of the disease on Sunday stood at 9.43% after a total of 1,14,288 tests were conducted during the day.

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi |
Updated: April 12, 2021 2:34:24 am
According to private labs, the pressure of providing reports in 24 hours is also leading to the increased waiting period.

The sudden spike in the daily number of Covid cases has left private labs in the city swamped with calls for RT-PCR tests over the last one week. This has led to a delay in reports in a few cases as well.

For instance, Ravi Kumar (name changed) and his wife got themselves tested at a private lab on April 9 and have not received the report till date. He made several calls and sent messages to the lab but to no avail. “I have no other option but to wait for the lab to share the test result. For the last three days, we have isolated ourselves at home since we don’t know about the result and don’t want to spread the infection in the community,” said Kumar.

In the last 10 days, the city has witnessed a massive rise in Covid-19 infections with over 66,000 people testing positive. The daily positivity rate of the disease on Sunday stood at 9.43% after a total of 1,14,288 tests were conducted during the day. According to data shared by the Delhi government, a total of 9,82,581 tests have been conducted since April 1.

Dr Deepak Sadhwani, head of Prognosis Laboratories, said: “We are finding it very difficult to match the current surge and increase in demand. We had already scaled up our capacity during the first wave and then the pandemic completely subsided for many months. The first surge happened gradually but this new surge has caught everyone off guard. The situation was different 10 days ago, and today, as we speak, it is absolutely different. We are trying to find more people to strengthen the team. As vaccination has started now, we did not expect that cases will go up suddenly.”

According to private labs, the pressure of providing reports in 24 hours is also leading to the increased waiting period.

Dr Arvind Lal, chairman of Dr Lal PathLabs, said: “The demand is slightly on a higher side. We have observed that this strain is more infectious and less virulent. The government should allow us to expand timings for sharing the report. At present, the test report has to be given in 24 hours which is creating a burden on the testing facility. If we are allowed to increase the turnaround time to 48 or 72 hours, we will have the buffer period to cater to everyone. In this way labs can continue with testing, and there is less likelihood of the patient getting away.”

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