Testing times again

Testing times again
Posted 13 Jan 2022 | Source: https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/

Palike adopts safe-than-sorry approach, ramps up testing in B’luru to fight the virus

Though the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) specified that there was no need for unnecessary testing of asymptomatic individuals in community settings, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has decided not to take any chances. Instead, the corporation is gearing up to increase testing in the city.

Currently, 70,000 tests are conducted in the city and there are plans to scale the testing to 1 lakh to 1.3 lakh. On Wednesday, a record of 97,861 tests were conducted in Bengaluru.
During an interaction, BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said there won’t be any let-down in testing as it was essential. Batting for Gupta’s decision, Dr Swati Rajagopal , Consultant - Infectious Disease & Travel Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital , said: “The primary contacts of the confirmed case must be tested irrespective of whether high or low risk. It’s important that primary contacts remain at home for seven days and testing be done at seven days even if asymptomatic before coming out of quarantine. With such a high level of community transmission, primary contacts must be tested. I would sincerely urge primary contacts of a positive case to get themselves tested at seven days post-exposure (if no symptoms) or if with symptoms SOS. This is important to prevent the spread of infection to other family members and to the community.”

However, Dr Rakshay Shetty (Paediatric Intensivist from Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Marathahalli ) vouched for ICMR’s decision stating that not testing asymptomatic patients was a logical one. “This might decrease the load on labs in providing timely results. These were important in the early part of the pandemic with unvaccinated population and disease containment. At the current stage of the pandemic, it probably adds little value. Hence, the focus should be on vaccination and standard practice of masking and social distance at this phase.”

160 patients admitted on Tuesday

Gupta said that the number of cases in Bengaluru has risen sharply from 200 to about 15,000 in the last 15 days, in line with the increase in other major cities in the country and in the world. However, the only breather so far is that the hospitalisations continue to be low though the admission numbers are slowly picking up.
From 20 admissions in a day, the hospitalisations had risen to 160 on Tuesday, which was the highest so far for the third wave. The problems of oxygen saturation level dropping are not being witnessed in this wave. Paediatric cases continue to remain at about 12 per cent of overall cases and there was no significant increase over the earlier cases.


Gupta said that all positives are mandatorily tele-triaged within 24 hours of test results. While physical triaging was being taken up in cases in the low case scenario, now only those who have symptoms are physically triaged at the doorstep by mobile triage units (MTUs). All wards have one or two MTUs depending on caseload. There are 198 wards under BBMP. Physical triaging is also done for all patients considered high risk, patients of more than 60 years and/or having co-morbidities.

Hospitalisation and bed allocation

As of now, 3,237 beds under government hospitals, 2,696 beds under government medical colleges, 13,540 beds under private hospitals, and 8,594 beds under private medical colleges are identified, totalling to 28,067 beds. Of these, as of now 6255 beds are made available for allotment under the CHBMS, and 362 are allotted by CHBMS (government quota). More than 90 per cent of covid-affected people would not need to be hospitalised. Covid Care Centres (CCCs) are being set up by the BBMP to shift people who cannot be under home isolation. 27 such CCCs are being set up and would be operational by Friday, 14 Jan 22.

With such a high level of community transmission, primary contacts of covid-positive people must be tested
– Gaurav Gupta, Chief Commissioner

Markets to be shifted

Markets shall be shifted from the core areas and placed at open areas, with more spacing, to ensure social distancing. Guidelines regarding the same shall be issued at the earliest. Revised advisories for resident welfare associations/apartments are put in place and shall be issued at the earliest. As there are many cases identified in paying guests, hostels etc., increased restrictions shall also be imposed on hostels and paying guests, to ensure effective containment, orders regarding the same shall be issued at the earliest.

15,000 cases in Bengaluru
Covid cases saw a big jump in Bengaluru as the daily count went up from 10,800 (Tuesday’s report) to 15,617 on Wednesday. It was on May 15 last year, when the city had crossed the 15,000 mark. The state tally too went beyond 20,000 as 21,390 cases were reported.
Due to the increase in cases, the active cases also went up drastically as there are 93,099 active cases in the state out of which, 73,654 were in Bengaluru alone.
The deaths have also slowly increased as it touched the double digits (10 deaths in the state including six in Bengaluru alone). The testing has also increased with a record 1.95 lakh people tested in the state.