Many people with mild symptoms are avoiding Covid-19 tests, doctors and health department officials have said. Keeping this in mind, the health department is conducting awareness campaigns, urging people to visit government facilities and get tested if they have symptoms for Covid.
“Although the number of Covid tests has gone up in the last few days, there has been a trend among a significant number of the people showing reluctance to undergo tests, having symptoms like fever, cold and cough. “This apart, a number of people undergoing self-tests at home are not uploading the results on a mobile app, leaving themselves beyond monitoring. In the current Covid wave, most patients are either asymptomatic or they have mild symptoms,” a source at the health department said.
According to public health experts, it would be difficult to determine the true level of infection spread in the absence of sustained levels of testing. According to the protocol, someone testing positive in a home test, rapid antigen test, will be considered as positive. Someone testing negative but having symptoms should undergo an RT-PCR test, which is more reliable than the alternative antigen-based tests.
Darjeeling district chief medical officer of health Dr Tulsi Pramanik said ground level health workers like accredited social health activists (ASHA) were conducting the awareness drive among the people. “The health department is continuously taking up awareness programmes at the community level so that people dispel their hesitancy and undergo Covid tests if there are symptoms in them. At the same time, a good number of Covid tests are being conducted daily in the district,” Dr Pramanik said.
Sources at the Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) said that around 700-800 samples from Darjeeling and Kalimpong were being tested on an average daily. According to noted physician and secretary of the Association of Physicians of North Bengal, Dr Shankha Sen, many people are not willing to go for Covid tests though the transmissibility of the disease remains high.
“The government recognizes RT-PCR results in the test counts. Many are undergoing RAT, but they are staying away from uploading the results on the app, as a result it goes under reporting of the Covid tests. I am of the opinion that those who are testing positive using a self-test kit at home should notify the result.” Dr Sen also pointed out that there were instances of many Covid patients at home not taking advice from doctors.
The doctors also expressed concerns over delayed hospitalization, only when a patient’s condition worsens or complications get serious, as most of them remained at home without medical supervision. The NBMCH has recorded around 17 deaths of Covid patients, with five patients dying in the past 24 hours, this month.
Covid death : A 50-year-old resident of Kurseong, who had been undergoing treatment for Covid-19, died at the NBMCH today, sources said. Darjeeling district recorded 260 Covid-19 cases today. While the Siliguri Municipal Corporation reported 78 cases in total, areas that fall in Darjeeling district logged 65 cases. Fifty-seven persons tested positive in Matigara block, 25 in Naxalbari, 21 in Kharibari and 20 in Phansidewa, sources said. Meanwhile, 87 persons recovered from the virus, including those who completed their home isolation period.