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Soon, RT-PCR test results within 24 hours

A new testing facility is coming up in Mysuru city after Dasara wherein the results of swab test using the RT-PCR method would be available within 24 hours from the time of sample collection. This is expected to reduce complaints from patients over results taking a long time – sometimes even a week.

A lab each at the Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMCRI) and the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) were carrying out the PCR tests in Mysuru, both handling nearly 1,500 swabs a day.

However, since Mysuru had ramped up tests to over 4,000-5,000 a day, the remaining swabs are sent to labs in Bengaluru for the tests and this was said to be the reason for time taken in getting results. The dispatch time from the two Bengaluru labs on the swabs was around 6 to 9 days, resulting in complaints from the patients.

The issue was taken up with Minister for Health and Medical Education K. Sudhakar recently. The MMCRI will soon be equipped with the new testing system wherein the results are available within 24 hours. And the system can handle as many as 4,000 swabs a day.

Deputy Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri in Mysuru on Friday said the government has told the districts to carry out mostly PCR tests and go for Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) only if the results were needed urgently. As the RATs does not discover infection in case of less viral load, 90% of the tests had been shifted to PCR method though the RATs’ results are available within 20 minutes. As of now, only 10% of RATs are being done in the district and maximum tests are being done using the PCR method, she said.

Ms. Sindhuri, in a Facebook live session on Friday, said more beds are now available in government hospitals treating COVID-19 and there was no scarcity of beds with more beds equipped with oxygen supply being added.

As many as 50 beds equipped with centralised oxygen supply were getting ready at the trauma care centre and 50 beds each with oxygen supply in all taluk headquarters were being readied. Patients from taluks can avail treatment from taluk hospitals, she said, and added that the private hospitals had been told to set aside 50% of beds. This was being enforced by teams constituted for this purpose, inspecting the hospitals on a daily basis.

Nearly 24 private hospitals in Mysuru are treating COVID-19 patients and each of them is supposed to display the availability of beds at the reception counter, the DC said, and added that testing, availability of beds, oxygen supply-equipped beds and ventilators had been streamlined.

All parameters are showing improvement in Mysuru with the case fatality rate (CFR) down from 2.1% to 1.5% since over 20 days and the number of tests too have gone up from 2,000 to nearly 4,000 a day.

With regard to the death audit, Ms. Sindhuri said early tests and early treatment are the only remedy to control the toll and advised that the patients should not be under the impression that the infection was more serious in elderly persons and patients with co-morbidities and not among the youth.

She also spoke about patients shifted to private hospitals from government hospitals and advised against such decisions since oxygen levels may drop while shifting, causing complications.

Ms. Sindhuri said the new infections in Mysuru have come down but it is not yet COVID-19-free. There’s only a slight improvement in the situation. People should continue taking all precautions until Mysuru is rid of the disease.

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