BENGALURU: With the increasing number of people suffering from Covid-like symptoms and rushing to nearby hospitals and clinics for Covid testing, the laboratories are loaded with swab samples and are taking over 72 hours to declare results, leading to anxiety among many patients and delaying their treatment. A week ago, a 26-year-old employee of a private firm and a resident of Malleswaram gave her swab samples for testing at a primary health centre in her area.
But she got the results only after five days. “I kept checking on the Covid war room website, but it kept saying the results were awaited. When I gave the samples, I was told that the result would be ready within 48 hours, but I got it only on the fifth day. I was anxious as I had all Covid symptoms, like fever, fatigue, cold and diarrhoea. I had started on my medication when the results got really delayed,” she said.
A week ago, the State Government issued a circular directing labs and testing agencies to give RTPCR results within 24 hours. It also said the test results should be updated on the ICMR portal. But there is no change in the situation on the ground. Not just government facilities, many private laboratories too are generating results 72 hours after collecting the samples.
“I gave my swab sample at a private laboratory on Cunningham Road. They told us that the results would be available only after 72 hours as there was a large number of samples. Ideally, we should get the results within 24 hours. Our entire family had to wait despite having symptoms. But we had started on paracetamol. My 74-year-old grandfather too had symptoms and his condition had worsened by the time the results came,” said a 33-year-old employee of a construction company.
Shalini Rajneesh, Nodal Officer for monitoring testing activities and laboratories in the state, said, “The process will be streamlined in the next two days. We met laboratory representatives and told them to start generating results within 24 hours. Strict action will be taken against those who take longer than that. We have asked some of the labs that had closed to reopen. Samples can be sent there to reduce burden on other labs. The labs complained about lack of data entry operators, and the government has told them that operators would be provided, but the process has to be streamlined.”