Health Minister Satyendar Jain Tuesday said the Delhi government is taking up a proposal with the Centre and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to allow labs to conduct 10% fewer Covid tests than their total capacity to avoid delay, resulting in a higher turnaround rate.
“We issued strict orders on Monday to ensure that the turnaround period is 24 hours. When labs conduct tests equivalent to their capacity, it results in a delay. We will be taking up this issue with ICMR and the central government to suggest that if labs conduct 10% fewer tests than their total capacity, it will result in a higher turnaround rate. Delhi is optimally utilising both private and government labs, but there is a need for additional support in terms of labs as promised by the central government to ensure that the reports are issued within 24 hours,” he said.
As per the ICMR website, there are 85 labs testing for Covid-19 in the capital, out of which 29 are government and 56 private labs. On the Union Home Ministry’s announcement that tests in Delhi will be increased to 60,000 per day by November 30, Jain said testing can be increased but labs are unable to process reports on time. On Monday, the Delhi government reduced the cost of RT-PCR tests to Rs 800 from the existing Rs 2,400. The cost of collecting samples from home has been capped at Rs 1,200.
Meanwhile, the city Tuesday saw 4,006 new cases and 86 deaths, taking the number of infections to 5,74,380 and the toll to 9,260. The positivity rate was recorded at 6.85% after authorities carried out 58,456 tests in the last 24 hours. The death rate based on data over the last 10 days has been recorded at 1.93%.
“We have to see the moving average and not take into consideration daily statistics. Presently, 1.61% is the death ratio. During winters, pollution levels in Delhi due to the stubble burning in neighbouring states was the reason behind the declining health of citizens. Due to that very reason, we saw an increase in hospital admissions. However, we anticipate that in two-three weeks, it will get better,” said Jain. Of 18,688 beds for Covid patients in hospitals, 7,777 are occupied. As per the Delhi government’s Corona App, of 1,492 ICU beds with ventilators, 1,140 are occupied. Jain added that Delhi’s positivity rate was down by 55% since November 7: “It has decreased to 7.35% (as on November 30) as opposed to 15.26% on November 7.”
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