Labs swamped, test results delayed

Laboratories, especially government-run facilities, seem to be buckling under the second wave of COVID-19 with people lining up to get tested. Over the last fortnight, an increasing number of citizens have reported significant delays, as long as four days, in getting their results. At a meeting on Friday with senior officials, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa stated that laboratories have to submit results within 24 hours.

In govt.-run facilities

While there have been complaints of private laboratories also delaying sending results, they are fewer in number when compared to government-run facilities. The delay implies loss of precious time in starting treatment. It also affects those who need to travel with negative certificates not more than 72 hours old.

Pooja S., a software professional from Bengaluru whose mother got tested on Tuesday, said she received her results only on Friday. “Her symptoms had subsided so we told her not to isolate herself. We were shocked when we got the results,” he said.

A media professional who gave his swab for testing last week said that he received his results only after four days, causing anxiety among his family members. A Bengaluru-based documentary filmmaker, after waiting for a week for his results, finally went to a private facility after the government-run laboratory failed to get back to him.

Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said, “It has come to my notice that there is delay in getting COVID-19 reports. I have instructed the labs to give test reports within 24 hours of collecting the sample.”

Manpower issue

Officials in charge of these laboratories attributed the delays to testing being ramped up and the lack of manpower to meet this increase in volume of swabs. On Friday, as many as 1.33 lakh tests were conducted across the State.

Given the situation, health experts have urged citizens to isolate themselves till they get their results. The fact that people are not doing so is worrying as they will continue to spread the virus to others at home and at their workplaces, they warned.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 10:11:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/labs-swamped-test-results-delayed/article34337610.ece

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