Covid-19 in Karnataka: False negative results causing hurdles in villages, say doctors | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: People with symptoms of Covid-19 but who test negative are most vulnerable to severe disease as they don’t begin medication, said a team of Bengaluru doctors who visited rural areas of Kodagu and Davanagere to spread awareness on the pandemic.
Over the past couple of weeks, Bengaluru-based pulmonologists Dr Chethan Kumar NG and Dr Sandeep BS, who have been treating Covid-19 patients since the pandemic broke, have been visiting some of the worst-affected rural areas in the state.
The duo, who travel to different areas on weekends and reach out to locals in those areas, say a nationallevel campaign is needed to ensure people are aware of the progression of the viral disease in the body and to drill in the fact that it requires treatment irrespective of the test report.
“In cities, the awareness on symptomatic treatment is pretty high, but in villages, even healthcare workers ignore Covid-19 cases that test negative in RT-PCR tests,” said Dr Kumar.
He suggested that this is leading to late presentations in hospitals and high mortality rates. In a village in Channagiri taluk in Davanagere district for instance, the doctors were shocked to learn that 12 of 14 people who died had tested negative for Covid-19.
“They ignored treatment and no follow up was done. These people were apparently rushed to hospitals, but they all died by the time they got there. This scene is playing out repeatedly across the country as people mostly wait for test results before seeking treatment,” said Dr Kumar.
To vault this hurdle, the duo conducts interactive programmes with local officials and villagers, where they bust myths and reveal facts.
Lack of monitoring
“A majority of health workers on the ground do not understand false negative reports and hence do not monitor patients’ symptoms or take pulse oximeter readings for 10 to 14 days,” said Dr Kumar. “In all such cases, patients also feel relieved that their swab sample is negative and neglect the severity of the symptoms.”
He said the mindset is to wait for test results. “People don’t understand that they can be affected by the virus. We are trying our best to spread awareness on symptomatic treatment to be initiated without waiting for the test report,” said Dr Kumar.
The doctors also noticed that pulse oximeters used by healthcare workers in some places were of inferior quality, further hampering treatment.
Oxygen saturation levels
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Dr Sandeep told TOI healthcare workers must consider everybody to be Covid-positive if they have obvious symptoms and immediately start treatment.
“They should ideally check oxygen saturation levels of such people at least twice a day following the sixminute walk test. But that’s not happening in the villages that we visited,” he said.
He said a great deal of time is lost waiting for RTPCR test results. While even people don’t show up for the test even two or three days after symptoms present, they then wait for another two or three days for RTPCR results.
“This takes away six days to a week of valuable treatment time,” Dr Sandeep said. “If they test positive, they start medication, but if they test negative, by the eighth day, their saturation level drops and then they scramble to get admitted.” Usually, it’s too late by then, he indicated.





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Sagar Biswas

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