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Backlog cleared, sample testing resumes at Wenlock Hospital

With the clearing of backlog COVID-19 samples and arrangements made for entry of test results in the ICMR portal, RT-PCR tests at the Government Wenlock Hospital here started with renewed vigour on Friday.

Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra told The Hindu that the hospital has a capacity to test around 2,000 samples of nasal and throat swabs per day. In the last few days, the load increased to around 4,000 samples and there was backlog of around 1,800 samples every day. There were complaints about delay in getting test results.

Dr. Rajendra said that a couple of days ago, backlog samples were distributed among laboratories of eight private medical colleges for tests. “This is the reason 1,700 new positive cases were reported on Thursday,” he said and added that the hospital has started testing fresh samples.

To further increase the capacity of the centre, Dr. Rajendra said that orders have been placed to procure new automatic RNA extractor machine. This new machine will be deployed in addition to the RNA extractor machine that is in use now.

He said that help has been taken from Kasturba Medical College’s Microbiology Department to speed up the process of RT-PCR tests in the hospital.

District Health and Family Welfare Officer Kishore Kumar said that the 12 lab technicians and 16 data entry operators have been trained in technical aspects, including numbering of samples and entry in the ICMR portal. The personnel were working in shifts, including night.

“We are ensuring that that the reports will be available within 48 hours,” Dr. Rajendra said. A decision has been taken to test samples of symptomatic patients and primary contacts at the testing centre. Asymptomatic patients have to give their samples for tests at private laboratories, he added.

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