Thousands of Covid-19 affected patients face severe damage as they have symptoms of the deadly virus but are testing Covid-19 negative for the RT-PCR tests conducted but have subsequently shown Covid-19 lung manifestations when subjected to CT-scans.
Dr C N Manjunath, a committee member from Covid task Force stated that improperly collected swabs, premature testing, poor quality of testing kits, and even mutated viruses may be leading to the increase in the false-negative incidents. He added, “The problem is serious as nearly 10% of all Covid-19 cases fall into this category and people can be quite ill.”
A case like that has happened with a 58-year old Bengaluru resident Kalavathi, when she developed symptoms of the COvid-19 infection, her family anticipated Covid-19 positive, but the reports were negative. Her son Vijay said, “A CT scan revealed lung congestion.”
There are repercussions to testing Cocid-19 positive over CT scans, as the patient was not tested positive with RT-PCR test, Kalavathi did not get assigned District ID patient number making her officially a non-Covid patient. Not having a BU number indicated that the patient will be refused admission to hospital bed under government quota.
Dr Manjunatha iterated the he made recommendation which resulted in the circular which described that the patients with false negative reports must be accepted as Covid-19 positive and allocated a hospital bed. He said, “Once that is done, all the other protocols fall into place. The patient is registered on the ICMR portal as a confirmed case, treatment protocols are assigned, private hospitals have a point of reference to claim financial reimbursement from the government, etc.”
Dr Thrilok Chandra, Health Commissioner revealed that SOPs have been modulated and that helplines need to accept symptomatic patients even if they have a Covid-19 negative test result. Mohammed Ismail, a member of civil Emergency Response Team, who provides assistance for bed booking said, “The 108 and other helplines are refusing to accept them as Covid-19 cases.”
Ismail further added, “As per my knowledge not one CT scan-positive case has been given a government-quota bed to date.”
After the death of Kalavathi, her family also had to further wait for nearly 24 hours as cremation priority was more for the confirmed patients of Covid-19.
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