During this pandemic season, a new phenomenon is emerging out. What is surprising is a Covid rapid antigen test of a man with symptoms of the disease twice came back negative. But on Sunday, his condition worsened to such an extent that he had to be admitted to the ICU of a private hospital. Yet another elderly man with symptoms of Covid called up several testing facilities but no one agreed to collect samples from home.
During the second wave, most of the Covid patients are becoming critical because they have to either wait for the RT-PCR test result for days or are undergoing the rapid antigen test that often throws up false negatives. All testing centres including the government and the private, are allegedly not telling people that rapid antigen test results are not confirmatory. With this, the reports of the tests often lead to a false sense of safety, which results in patients’ condition becoming critical. Hello Vizag finds out the problems and the reasons.
Ramana, a 45-year-old resident of Akkyyapalem has been having a high fever for the past week. Twice he underwent the rapid antigen test at a clinic notified by the district administration. But on both occasions, he tested negative even though has been suffering from breathing distress and other Covid-19 symptoms. The man’s family took him to a private hospital and then to other nearby government hospitals on Sunday night, where he was refused admission.
Lastly, on Monday morning, he was admitted to the intensive care unit of another private hospital. But according to the guidelines, issued for the rapid antigen test (RAT) mention that someone who tests negative but has symptoms of the disease should undergo the RT-PCR test, the gold standard of Covid diagnosis.
Ramana was not told to undergo the RT-PCR test. Speaking to Hello Vizag, a doctor who runs a clinic at KGH down, said “If a patient with Covid symptoms tests negative in the RAT and is not told to undergo the RTPCR test, it will give a false sense of security in the patient that he is not infected with the coronavirus. With this, the patient will ignore the crucial signs that his condition is worsening.”
Delay in Test results
The actual reason why many of the people going for RAT tests due to delay in RT-PCR test results with laboratories are overwhelmed with RTPCR samples. With a continuous spike in covid-19 cases in Vizag, test results getting delayed more than four days.
Compared to the last year, few laboratories are involved in collecting samples from the home due to a spike in covid 19 infections in the second wave. Hence, it is inconveniencing the elderly and the ailing, who are not in a position to visit diagnostic centres and stand in a queue to get their samples collected.
Vizag district on Monday recorded a dip in the number of new Covid cases after reporting over 2000 cases for two consecutive days on Saturday and Sunday. The district recorded 1,618 new cases on the day, taking the total number of cases to 99,499. The cumulative number of positive cases in the district is inching closer to one lakh mark after the first case was reported in the city when a 65-year-old man from Allipuram tested positive for the virus in March last year. The total number of fatalities in the district now stands at 707. Meanwhile, recoveries breached 79,000-mark in the district. The total number of recoveries stands at 79,490 as of Monday.