Officials should be careful as soon as Kovid testing starts in Delhi – Henry Club

The COVID testing numbers may come down in the coming days as the Delhi government focuses on testing only those with symptoms of the virus or referred by doctors. This comes after a change in the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) which no longer allows on-demand testing.

Random testing of asymptomatic persons has been stopped at metro stations, bus stops, markets, ISBTs and railway stations and many districts have reduced the number of government COVID testing centres.

However, government officials cautioned and said the decision could have a significant impact on home isolation systems as asymptomatic cases could turn into super spreaders.

A senior health department official said, “The new ICMR guidelines do away with testing on demand, which was a major part of the tests we were doing. First, many who did not necessarily have symptoms were being tested. Second, we were testing all the contacts of a positive case. So, if we were testing 30 contacts for a positive case, we would now test a maximum of 10 – only people who are at higher risk of getting serious illness. ,

The mobile teams have stopped testing except for those posted at the airport, the official said.

A senior government official said: “If people do not follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, community spread will increase. During the randomized trials, there were many people who were asymptomatic but tested positive. ,

The ICMR issued the guidelines on January 10 and the Director, DGHS, the next day – after the approval of the Health Minister – circulated them to all district magistrates for implementation.

The guidelines direct that in community settings, only symptomatic patients, at-risk contacts of laboratory confirmed cases, persons undertaking international flights, and international travelers be tested. In a hospital setting, only patients referred by doctors will be tested. In addition, asymptomatic patients undergoing treatment/surgery, including pregnant women who are/are nearing delivery, will not be tested unless necessary or showing symptoms.

The Health Department official said, ‘There has been a decrease in the samples coming from the hospitals. Earlier all patients were being screened before any procedure or recruitment. Now, the ICMR guidelines clearly state that people who are asymptomatic need not undergo tests before procedures, surgeries or delivery. Keeping all these things in mind, the number of samples in the government sector has come down. The official said that samples of asymptomatic persons are still being tested in private laboratories.

Another health department official said the aim behind the new guidelines is to reduce panic among the public: “The cases are increasing very rapidly but are mostly mild. This will also reduce the burden on laboratories which were testing thousands of samples a day. There will be less harassment of asymptomatic people in hospitals. The recovery rate will increase as the focus is only on symptomatic patients.

“The district officers and their teams will ensure that there is a protocol in place to minimize asymptomatic cases and community spread. Night and weekend curfew will also be gradually lifted as the cases come down,” the official said.

Incidentally, Delhi conducted the highest number of RT-PCR tests (85,349) on Wednesday since the guidelines were issued, and that number too crossed 80,000 on Thursday. This, the official said, could be due to the lag period of a few days after the collection of samples and the report being uploaded on the ICMR portal. There was a fall on Friday and 64,183 RT-PCR tests were conducted.