“I gave my wife’s sample at a private lab in the city expecting results the same day. However, they refused to disclose the test results citing the Corporation order. If the lab provides the results soon I can start her treatment or admit her to a hospital,” S Karthikeyan, a city resident, said.
As per the new practice, private labs are to send test results to nodal officers appointed for each of the 15 zones. If the samples test positive, personnel from the civic body would visit the houses of infected persons and take them to screening centres for triaging.
When asked, Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi said that the strategy has been implemented successfully in Mumbai. “Usually test results would come in the evening and the ones testing positive are taken for triaging the next morning. The move is to avoid panic seeking of hospital beds despite mild symptoms. We want to ensure hospital beds for the persons in need,” he added.
However, Bedi also assured that the civic body would modify the strategy if needed, based on results obtained in the field. As per the current practice, the civic body is taking positive persons to triaging centres (screening centres) and patients with mild symptoms or no symptoms are sent to home isolation or to COVID care centres. Only those critical are being sent to hospitals.
Meanwhile, more than 130 final year MBBS students were appointed on Friday to man control rooms in zones. “The students will contact persons under home quarantine every day to track their health. They will also suggest proper medication. At present, around 30,000 people are under home quarantine. More than 3,700 non-oxygen beds are empty in COVID care centres and people should come here if they do not have facilities at home,” Bedi said.