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Test disparity: Lab staff catching virus an issue

Of the 11 labs under Mysuru division, three are testing less than 50 per cent of their capacity, five below 100 per cent, and six above 100 per cent.

Published: 12th August 2020 06:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2020 06:11 AM   |  A+A-

coronavirus sample testing

Representational image. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Among the 17 districts falling under Bengaluru and Mysuru revenue divisions, a major disparity can be seen in the number of samples tested per day, as per official data from the Covid-19 war room. Statistics from 34 Covid labs in Bengaluru, Kolar, Shivamogga, Davanagere, Tumakuru, Kolar and Mandya showed that 13 labs are testing less than 50 per cent their capacity, 24 labs less than 100 per cent and 10 labs more than 100 per cent.

At Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College, Kolar, the testing capacity is 200 per day, but only 24 tests are being conducted, which is just 12 per cent. But at NIMHANS, Bengaluru, which can test 500 samples a day, 900 samples are being sent, which is 180 per cent above its target. At the IISc lab, the daily capacity is 300, but zero samples have been tested in the last three days.

Of the 11 labs under Mysuru division, three are testing less than 50 per cent of their capacity, five below 100 per cent, and six above 100 per cent.

Dr C N Manjunath, nodal officer for testing in the state, said, “Some labs are being closed for fumigation after staffers test positive, and they need to be shut for 24-48 hours. In some cases, there is a disparity because labs have a much higher testing capacity than others, like at NIV, NIMHANS and BMCRI.”

The state government is now targeting 20,000 RT-PCR tests and 20,000-25,000 Rapid Antigen tests per day, which amounts to 40,000-50,000 tests.

“The shortage of lab technicians and data entry operators at government labs has been addressed by filling up vacancies,” he said.

Dr Shalini Rajneesh, the IAS officer in charge of testing, said, “Normally, we reach full capacity, but when staffers test positive, there’s nothing we can do.”

More from Karnataka.

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