Test results getting delayed at 2 Srinagar labs
Representational Pic

Test results getting delayed at 2 Srinagar labs

Govt redirects samples to private labs for clearing backlog

Two Srinagar COVID19 testing laboratories have backlog of many days, delaying results of samples from many districts. To address the issue, the government has ordered that new samples be tested at three private labs outside J&K.

Many doctors in Kashmir have expressed concern over the delay in getting report of COVID19 tests of suspected cases.

As per the official details, on 13 July, SKIMS Soura reported the results of scores of samples taken on 7 July. On 12 July, results of samples from some districts taken on 6 July were reported. Similarly, at SKIMS Medical College Hospital Bemina, samples taken six days ago were being reported now.

The inordinate delay in knowing the COVID19 status was risking the spread of infection, a senior doctor at SKIMS said.  "It was due to delays and what appeared to be lackadaisical approach that many people were unable to take the threat seriously."

He said he knew of many cases who had given their samples and were roaming about freely for days before they were reported positive. "Aren't we guilty of spreading infection given this scenario?" he asked.

The apprehensions were corroborated by an individual who suspected himself of being infected and gave sample on eighth day of his exposure to an infected person. "My result did not arrive till 14 days were over and I was under tremendous stress till then not knowing what to do," he said.

He said there was no point of getting results a week after the sample was taken. "Is the result still valid after 5 or 6 days?" he asked.

An order issued on Monday by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole said that samples from 10 districts of Kashmir be sent to three private labs for testing. The order mandates the new arrangement till pendency of samples at SKIMS Soura Virology Lab and SKIMS Medical College Bemina Lab is cleared.

As per this new protocol, the limit of samples to be taken has also been set and ranges between 200 to 400 samples depending on the pace of rise of positive cases in a particular district.

In addition, the samples taken from incoming passengers at Srinagar Airport will now be tested at GMC Srinagar's virology lab.

Prof Farooq Jan, medical superintendent SKIMS said that the backlog was due to the large number of samples that the Institute received from security forces' establishments. "We are testing over 2000 samples daily and we have a backlog of 1500 now," he said. He said the backlog will take "one or two days to clear".

Prof Reyaz Untoo, principal SKIMS MC Bemina said, the pendency was being looked into.

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