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Testing Remains A Challenge In Karnataka Amid A Second Covid Wave



Karnataka government says only communication on negative reports are delayed.

Karnataka, in the grip of a second wave of Coronavirus, has started ramping up its vaccination process. But one challenging area remains testing, which is a crucial element in the battle against Covid 19.

With the number of tests conducted each day increasing, the system faces a huge challenge when it comes to analysing and reporting the samples.  

The state government-run KC General Hospital in Bengaluru is one of the places where testing of Covid samples is done.

“We get the samples from BBMP and elsewhere… Around 1000 samples will come,” (said) DR BR Venkateshaiah, Medical Superintendent, K C General Hospital, told NDTV.  

To deal with the numbers and provide reports in time, the hospital, he said, needs more staff and material.

For now, testing has been suspended in the hospital’s lab as some of the staff got infected.

“In KC General Hospital, three of our technicians tested Covid positive,” said Dr Venkateshaiah. “Following guidelines, we tested all other lab people and medical officers. The lab has been sanitised and closed for the time being,” he added.

Currently, the hospital is collecting swabs, which are then sent for testing to the Jayanagar General Hospital.

“Other lab technicians are training in Jayanagar General Hospital,” he said.

Many labs across the state are facing similar challenges.

Over 21 million tests have been done in Karnataka since the beginning of the pandemic — including more than 17 million RT-PCR tests — so the scale is enormous.

The government insists it is only communication about negative reports that is delayed.

Dr K Sudhakar, Health and Medical Education Minister, told NDTV that positive cases are being reported within 24 hours. The delay creeps in when the reports are negative.

“Because of the workload, we are not able to give the negative report within 24 hours. But people are generally quite concerned about their reports. Even if they test negative, they would like to know that they are negative,” he said.

But this issue, he said, will get sorted out within a week.

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