Karnataka: Health department reduces daily testing target from 1L to 70K | Bengaluru News – Times of India
BENGALURU: The health and family welfare department has reduced the daily, statewide Covid testing target from 1 lakh to 70,000. A circular in this regard was issued on January 30 and it cites suggestions of the state technical advisory committee on Covid-19.
STOI has a copy of the circular, which lists revised targets for all districts. Bengaluru Urban district will aim for 23,135 tests a day. The new guidelines prescribe RT-PCR tests through a pooling method for everyone barring those with influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and asymptomatic primary contacts of Covid-19 patients.
Primary health centres (PHCs) across Bengaluru have reduced the number of RTPCR tests from 1,000 to 100. STOI visited some PHCs in Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Bommanahalli zones, where testing numbers have dropped. Madhukar, a lab technician at the Konanakunte PHC, said that the focus had shifted towards vaccination. “Till November, we used to collect nearly 300 swab samples at our PHC. The number has now dropped below 100. There are two reasons: the vaccination drive and the decreasing number of patients,” he added. Rajendra Cholan, special commissioner for health, said that Covid-19 tests were largely sought by students and teaching and nonteaching staff. “Very few people are exhibiting the symptoms of Covid-19. Many people have developed antibodies after recovering from the infection,” he said.
According to the data accessed by STOI, of the more than 23,000 tests conducted in Bengaluru every day, 2,571 are rapid antigen ones and 20,564 are RT-PCR ones. “Except for ILI and SARI cases, swab samples will be sent for pool testing,” confirmed Bhaskar Rajakumar, nodal officer, BBMP Covid war room. “There will be a delay in the results because of pooling. Our focus is divided between the vax drive and Covid-19 testing.”