June 3, 2020 2:31:25 am
In a decision set to speed up Covid-19 testing, BMC on Tuesday decided to remove the compulsion of producing a doctor’s prescription for high-risk contacts – even asymptomatic – to undergo tests.
Until now, BMC’s testing guidelines allowed a person showing symptoms to undergo Covid-19 swab test if the person had a doctor’s prescription recommending it.
A high-risk contact, meaning a close family member of a patient, could only get tested after the fifth day of quarantine if he or she developed symptoms. Even for that, a prescription from a doctor was mandatory. Without prescription, only symptomatic health and frontline workers were allowed to be tested.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “A high-risk contact, with or without symptoms, has to give a self-declaration to a laboratory that his close contact has tested positive and that he requires a test. This declaration is enough for testing.”
For those who develop symptoms, but have no contact history with a patient, a doctor’s consultation is, however, necessary. Kakani said several people with viral infection may mistake it for Covid-19 and undergo a swab test unnecessarily. “A doctor will be a better judge whether or not they need a test. In such cases, a prescription is necessary,” he added.
The decision was taken after laboratories and doctors reported hurdles in testing mechanism leading to delay in detection of cases. Mumbai has witnessed flip-flops in its testing protocol since two months when the first case was recorded on March 11.
Currently, it takes two to three days for a patient to get a Covid-19 test done. The results take another one to two days to arrive.
Dr Chetan Velani, a general physician, said, “The new process will be easy on patients. In the last few days, BMC has also allocated certain labs for certain wards, this will also make process faster.”
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