According to health department sources, Institute of Child Health (ICH), too, has been approached by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the state health department to start testing Covid-19 samples. ICH is ready to start once it is provided the testing kits, a senior health official said.
With ICMR validating the use of rapid test kits for Covid-19, more centres could join the list, leading to a much-needed jump in the number of samples tested everyday. “Once rapid test kits are allowed, which could happen very soon, hundred samples can be easily tested a day. This will allow mass screening of Covid 19 suspects while the more doubtful samples can go the PCR labs which are already functioning,” said Peerless Hospital microbiologist Bhaskar Narayan Choudhury.
Meanwhile, Tata Medical Centre — that got the nod to test samples on Saturday — is ready with an isolation centre spread across three floors at its new Phase-II building. A team of doctors, nurses and other health staff is being trained to attend to Covid 19 patients and suspects. The hospital has set up a control room to run the centre and the team will be on duty round-the-clock. The hospital has shut down its research centre – asking employees to work from home – to facilitate the setting up of the isolation unit.
“We are ready to conduct tests and run the isolation centre. Our medical and support staff are now being trained and we have enough PPEs at our disposal. We have sought five kits and will receive samples from the ICMR,” said a Tata Medical official, adding that the charges for the test and other details were yet to be worked out.
Since there has been a dip in the number of cancer patients due to restrictions on OPD, we have enough manpower at our disposal who are adequately trained to provide infection-control treatment. As far as the infrastructure is concerned, everything from housekeeping to waste management is ready to roll,” said the Tata Medical official.
While STM has enough kits to conduct 800 tests, Apollo is set to procure its kits soon.
According to virologist Amitabha Nandy, “We need as many test centres as we can set up. The greater the number of suspects can be tested the better. It will ensure that no Covid positive slips through the net and transmission is effectively curbed. I hope we are moving towards that.”
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