The Greater Chennai Corporation is planning to automate the system of declaring results of COVID-19 tests.
Once the system is automated, residents will receive results on mobile phones through SMS, followed by response from volunteers in case of positive results, to reduce the turnaround time to less than four hours.
At present, positive results of COVID-19 testing is communicated by volunteers who receive a list from ward-level officials, causing a delay in providing information on COVID-19 results in many areas. Residents had complained that they were not getting results on their mobile phones.
“Volunteers say they cannot tell us about negative results for COVID-19. The volunteers are given information only about positive cases. Residents have to wait for many days before assuming that they have tested negative. This is causing anxiety,” said a resident.
Complaints of delay
A section of volunteers was delaying giving information in zones such as Kodambakkam, Anna Nagar, Teynampet and Adyar, the residents said.
Residents in various parts of the city had complained in the past few days about delay of at least four days for getting results of tests done in Corporation facilities. The Corporation has been testing 13,000 residents every day. The positivity rate is hovering around 10%.
In suburban areas, considerable time is lost, which leads to deterioration in the condition of some patients.
Doctors said the civic officials were not able to speed up release of results as they wanted to ensure that only correct information was given.
Senior officials of the Corporation said the sanitary inspectors in 200 wards and volunteers had been directed to inform residents about the results to facilitate COVID-19 response in a systematic manner. “We will inform the residents of results in 24 hours,” said an official.
The delay in sharing information on results in some areas was because of lack of coordination between volunteers and officials of various departments, the officials said.
As a number of volunteers had tested positive, their replacement remained a challenge, causing delay in reaching the information to residents. Many complained they had received information that they tested negative only four days after the test and, that too, after requesting for the same with civic officials.
To prevent COVID-19 deaths, the Corporation has ordered officials to admit residents with symptoms, especially those having breathlessness, to hospitals without waiting for results.