Mobile swab sample collection started in Calcutta on Tuesday. A retrofitted ambulance collected samples in the Chetla and New Alipore areas, Calcutta Municipal Corporation officials have said.
The move is aimed at going deep inside a place to collect samples and reduce the time gap between identifying a Covid-19 suspect and testing his/her swab sample, a CMC official said.
“This will help us isolate a positive patient quickly and contain the spread,” a CMC doctor said.
Public health professionals have said more tests are needed to identify Covid-19 positive people and then isolate them to prevent the spread of the infection.
Many people who were asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of Covid-19 are reluctant to visit hospitals to get their swab samples tested, another CMC official said.
CMC doctors give referral slips to those identified as contacts of Covid-19 positive people or those with symptoms to visit a hospital and get themselves checked. Tests can be done only if prescribed by a doctor .
On Tuesday, the sample collection started near Durgapur bridge in Chetla and continued in two other locations. All three locations are part of Ward 82, from where Firhad Hakim has been elected as a councillor.
“The vehicle collected swab samples near Durgapur bridge, on Rakhal Auddy Road and on Alipore Road,” Ratan Malakar, the former chairman of CMC’s Borough IX, said.
Five more vehicles will be retrofitted by this week to turn them into mobile swab sample collection centres, a CMC official said.
“We conducted over 400 tests on Tuesday. If the state health department wants, we can scale up the number of tests. We are training medical technologists in sample collection,” the official said.