BMC to take testing facilities to homes

Kasturba Hospital has so far received 3,682 people in its COVID-19 outpatient department.

Kasturba Hospital has so far received 3,682 people in its COVID-19 outpatient department.   | Photo Credit: Prashant Nakwe

Corporation aims to ease load on Kasturba Hospital, prevent further infections

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will be giving at-home COVID-19 testing services so as to ease the load on Kasturba Hospital, where people with flu-like symptoms are queuing up by the dozen.

If a doctor has advised a patient to undergo testing, the BMC or affiliated private hospitals will collect the sample from the patient’s home.

Kasturba Hospital is the city’s only infectious diseases public hospital. As on Friday, it had received 3,682 people in the COVID-19 outpatient department. Private practitioners refer 60% of the patients to the hospital without taking their travel history. Often, the patients come to get themselves tested. Doctors on the front line say such referrals put people at unnecessary risk.

Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi said the BMC will soon start an at-home testing facility.

“All private laboratories or those belonging to hospitals that have been registered with NIV, Pune, will set up a van. We are setting up a dedicated helpline,” he said. If a person feels he or she has COVID-19 symptoms, they need to talk to the team of doctors on the helpline and if the doctors feel their case is justified, a team of municipal doctors or those who have extended support to the BMC will collect a swab, he said. “If the sample tests positive, the patient will be moved to an isolation centre.”

The BMC will enlist the help of the 40 doctors released from airport duty, now that no international flights are landing in the city.

“As of today, 800 people are queuing up outside Kasturba Hospital while they have 100 COVID-19 patients to look after,’ Mr. Pardeshi said. In Italy, he said, the doctors were also infected and their hospital system collapsed. “When patients come to a hospital, everyone is exposed. Instead, a person wearing protective equipment will collect the sample from their homes.”

This, he said, will reduce the load on Kasturba and prevent people from commuting to the hospital. The facility will also be used for collecting swab samples of those in home quarantine or those who are in close contact with them.

Cop admitted for testing

Meanwhile, a police official posted on duty at Kasturba Hospital was admitted for COVID-19 testing on Sunday after he developed throat irritation. The 22-year-old had been posted in the hospital for the last five days. His reports are awaited.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 3:39:58 AM |

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