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Few takers for CMC Covid test centres

Requests from housing complexes to test their residents through special camps have dropped as well, an official said
Several factors are responsible, he said. A decline in enthusiasm among ward coordinators (the outgoing councillors) to mobilise people to go for tests, a general decline in interest among people to know if they are Covid positive and a drop in Covid test rates at private laboratories are the main factors, the official said.
Several factors are responsible, he said. A decline in enthusiasm among ward coordinators (the outgoing councillors) to mobilise people to go for tests, a general decline in interest among people to know if they are Covid positive and a drop in Covid test rates at private laboratories are the main factors, the official said.
PTI

Subhajoy Roy   |   Calcutta   |   Published 06.11.20, 02:37 AM

The number of people undergoing Covid-19 tests at the 72 rapid antigen testing centres the Calcutta Municipal Corporation had set up in the past two months is below expectation, civic officials have said.

Requests from housing complexes to test their residents through special camps have dropped as well, an official said.

Several factors are responsible, he said. A decline in enthusiasm among ward coordinators (the outgoing councillors) to mobilise people to go for tests, a general decline in interest among people to know if they are Covid positive and a drop in Covid test rates at private laboratories are the main factors, the official said.

“The CMC has the capacity to test more than 4,000 people through a combination of rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests every day; but hardly 1,200 people are getting tested daily,” the official said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research has approved both tests. Rapid antigen tests give results within 30 minutes whereas RT-PCR tests take at least a day to give the results. But RT-PCR tests are considered more foolproof, which is why the ICMR has said those testing negative in rapid antigen tests but have Covid symptoms should undergo RT-PCR tests.

A positive rapid antigen test result, though, is final, the ICMR has said.

Role of ward coordinators: “We have noticed a decline in interest among ward coordinators, who had played a crucial role in encouraging people to get themselves tested in the early months of the pandemic,” a CMC official said.

They used to persuade traders, bus drivers and conductors, auto drivers among others to get themselves tested. Isolating someone who tests positive is important to check the spread of the infection, the official said.

A Trinamul ward coordinator said there was a difference between being an elected councillor and a nominated one. “That spirit among coordinators is lacking. Many ward coordinators are not sure if they will get tickets when elections happen.”

Drop in test rates: The state government’s decision to cap Covid-19 test rates at Rs 1,500 has allowed many families to go to private laboratories, an official said. The state government brought down the rate from Rs 2,250 to Rs 1,500 on October 12. “Many people can now afford the test.”

Asymptomatic and in isolation: People are averse to getting stuck at home, the official said. “Earlier a lot of asymptomatic people got themselves tested at our centres. But when they tested positive, it meant they had to remain isolated at home for 14 days. Many people didn’t like this. They had no severe illness but could not run their businesses or join work… now those who don’t have any symptom are unwilling to go for tests.”

Many Covid positive people may not have symptoms but they end up infecting others, the official said.

Fewer test requests: In the initial days in August, the daily number of test requests from housing complexes was high, a CMC official said. “We were unable to meet all requests in a day. Now there are days when we don’t receive requests from any complex.”

People need to be retold, if needed, the significance of getting themselves tested and isolated till the time a medicine or vaccine is available, many officials said.



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