Mumbai: All frontline workers to be tested for COVID-19

Updated: Jul 28, 2020, 07:32 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Civic body to start testing health workers from next month onwards, ropes in six private laboratories to carry out antigen tests at Rs 300

BMC health workers conduct rapid antigen tests on police personnel at Sion. Pic/Ashish Raje
BMC health workers conduct rapid antigen tests on police personnel at Sion. Pic/Ashish Raje

Extending the reach of antigen tests to all frontline workers, the civic body, in addition to conservancy workers, will test police personnel and then move to hospital staff. Based on the expression of interest floated earlier this month for antigen testing, six laboratories have been appointed to conduct the tests at a fixed rate. Apart from Containment Zones, tests will be carried out at large COVID care facilities too.

Tests at police chowkies started on July 25 and until Sunday, out of 1,525 tests, 31 personnel have tested positive. “We have charted a plan to cover 41 divisions of police chowkies and the first phase will be completed by July 29. We are focussing on police officers between 45 and 50 years since that is the vulnerable group,” said a civic official. She added that based on the plan, testing of conservancy workers will end by the first week of August and then health workers, volunteers and NGO workers at COVID facilities will be tested. Until Sunday, 2,443 conservancy workers were tested, out of whom 16 tested positive.

Also Read: Mumbai: BMC to shut down empty COVID centres

Civic health workers test Kandivli residents using rapid antigen test kits. Pic/Satej Shinde
Civic health workers test Kandivli residents using rapid antigen test kits. Pic/Satej Shinde

Decision on more kits later
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said that the civic body has shortlisted six private laboratories including Suburban Diagnostics, Thyrocare, KRSNAA, InfeXn, SRL and Lifecare Labs. “We have fixed the rate at R300 per test and kits will be provided by the BMC. Private laboratories have been allocated different areas in ward offices, containment areas, police stations and hospitals,” he said. The civic body had ordered 1 lakh antigen test kits. Kakani added that a decision will be taken on additional purchase once half of the stock exhausts.

Apart from civic hospitals and Containment Zones, antigen testing will also be carried out at COVID care facilities, including the NESCO exhibition centre at Goregaon, NSCI Dome at Worli and the facility at MMRDA grounds, BKC. “We are notifying the administration of the COVID care facilities about appointing a private laboratory to test suspected cases,” said Kakani.

Sources said that the facility at NESCO is in talks with Thyrocare to start antigen testing. According to civic officials, until Sunday, 16,503 antigen tests have been carried out and 1,487 people have tested positive.

16,503
No. of antigen tests done in city until Sunday

1,525
No. of police personnel tested since July 25

2,443
No. of conservancy workers tested

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