HYDERABAD: At least 3,000 Covid-19 patients who tested positive in private laboratories over the past 10 days are untraceable as some private labs failed to report them to the government, officials said.
“To make it worse, an estimated 6,000 primary contacts are completely off from the government’s radar and we don’t know how to trace them,” a top government official told TOI.
During the ongoing investigation of private labs, authorities have learned that these 3,000-plus cases have not been reported to the state health authorities or the ICMR, defeating the whole idea of testing, tracking and treating patients. Every patient who tests positive has to be given a unique ID depending on the sequence of positive tests on a daily basis.
Once a patient tests positive, his details are to be conveyed by the lab to the state government and the Covid-19 portal then generates a unique ID number. This ID serves as a database for tracking by the state health department and the ICMR. The contact tracing begins by a set of staff deputed for the purpose.
“Despite charging anywhere between Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000 for a single Covid-19 test, patients are left to fend for themselves after getting the report in hand,” the official said.
The patients on the other hand hope to get integrated into the tracing system, but little do they know that their report is not a proper one. Several such reports accessed by TOI show that private labs have merely mentioned a registration number of the bill, but not mentioned a unique ID number.
Concerns raised over testing in Telangana
I only realised that my report had a problem when I turned up at a government hospital for admission three days after getting a positive report,” said a patient who is currently recovering.
Health department officials are preparing to take action against these labs.
“The private labs which have not followed the necessary protocol to report every positive patient’s unique number to us are already under our scanner and have been served notices,” said another official, adding: “There are so many patients who are untraceable now. They are a bigger challenge in controlling the spread now,” said a senior official from the state health department.
Testing remains a concern in Telangana as for the second day in a row, patients took to social media, citing how they were not tested or followed up by health authorities.
One patient tweeted that she was unable to get a test done, despite visiting an area hospital.
Courtesy Times of India