Ramping up testing facilities in the city, the Delhi government has decided to offer rapid antigen tests at all healthcare facilities, including at its over 200 dispensaries and 25 polyclinics. The decision is part of the state’s new technique of ‘test-track-test’ to ensure timely detection and containment of Covid-19.
Delhi recorded 2,187 fresh coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the tally in the city to 1,07,051. The death toll climbed to 3,258, with 45 deaths being recorded in the last 24 hours.
Officials said separate attention will be on high-risk groups which includes rickshaw pullers, labourers, vendors and mason workers. While the Central district will run a campaign to test rickshaw/auto/taxi drivers and goods carriage and lorry drivers, the Southeast district will set up a rapid antigen test camp in Kotla Mubakakpur to test dailywage labourers and mason workers. The East district will test vendors and labourers from Azadpur and Ghazipur mandis.
“With nearly 2,500 cases being reported each day, there are expected to be at least 7-8 direct and indirect high-risk contacts (at home and workplace). Aggressive contact tracing and testing holds the key to ensure that infection is controlled in its tracks effectively. This means that we consistently need to test at least 20,000 people each day. Since contacts can be in any part of the city, depending on the movement of the patient, the testing facility will be made available in the identified dispensaries and polyclinics,” stated an order issued by DGHS Director Dr Nutan Mundeja.
While RT-PCR is the gold standard for diagnosis of Covid-19, the ICMR recently approved the use of point-of-care rapid antigen test for early detection of the disease. The test is already being conducted in containment zones and hospitals.
Dispensaries can undertake tests of all individuals with influenza-like illness (ILI) and of asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts. The tests will be offered from 9 am to 12 pm on all working days for eligible individuals. Those tested negative will be tested again through the RT-PCR test.
The modified response plan for Covid-19 in Delhi underlines the need for aggressive testing across the capital. All individuals/patients with ILI symptoms, severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) are to be tested by rapid antigen testing in both public and private healthcare facilities.
Asymptomatic patients who are hospitalised or seeking hospitalisation and falling under the high-risk groups (chemotherapy, immunosuppressed, HIV+, malignant disease, transplant patients; those above 65 years with lung, heart, liver, kidney, diabetes, neurological and blood disorders) are to be tested using rapid antigen testing. Those going for elective surgeries and non-surgical procedures are also to be tested through this technique.
“Since the test results are out in 30 minutes, it will be helpful for healthcare facilities to start the treatment. Most hospitals have already started this,” said a senior official from the state health department.
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