Even as the health department has increased the Covid-19 testing in the state, questions are being raised over the way rapid antigen tests have been giving “fake” results, adding to the worry of the masses. At least two such incidents have happened with two top officials in the state.
The latest to face this horrible situation was Patna district magistrate Kumar Ravi himself. The district magistrate, who had been on the frontline of holding meetings with the officials and coordinating work with various departments, came in the grip of cough, cold and mild fever during the weekend after which he opted for a rapid antigen test. However, the report found him negative for Covid-19.
Not fully satisfied with the result given the kind of symptoms he had for quite some time, the DM later underwent real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test which ultimately tested him positive for covid-19. Subsequently, he opted for home quarantine at his official residence but by then more than 15 key officials, such as district agriculture officer, district statistics officer, DRDA director and district control room in-charge had got infected.
A similar thing happened with Patna civil surgeon Dr RK Chaudhary last week. The CS went for a rapid antigen test after his domestic help tested positive for Coronavirus but the test report declared him “negative”. Under pressure from his family members, the CS then underwent RT-PCR test which tested him positive for Covid-19. Subsequently, he went for home quarantine for 10 days.
Such results have raised a big question mark over the authenticity of the rapid antigen test reports. Strangely, the majority of the tests in Bihar are currently being conducted through the antigen test kits. The daily sample tests have currently crossed over 50,000 in the state now and one of the reasons why the number of tests increased manifold is this antigen testing.
Till a month back, the daily testing was little over 6,000 only. On 05 July, the total testing conducted was only 6,799, as per a report of the Bihar health department. The number of tests has now jumped to a whopping 51,924 as of Wednesday. However, the authenticity of the report remains a matter of concern now, health officials say.
As per an official report, Covid-19 has claimed 369 lives so far and infected more than 64,000 persons so far across the state. The worst-affected districts are Patna, Vaishali, Saran, Rohtas, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Begusarai, Gaya and Katihar.