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Mumbai Ramps up COVID-19 Testing Facilities as Positive Cases Continue to Rise

Image for representation. REUTERS/Prashant Waydande

Image for representation. REUTERS/Prashant Waydande

Six private labs in the city including Thyrocare, Metropolis, Suburban Diagnostic, Sir H N Reliance and SRL Labs have been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to conduct Covid-19 testing.

With 330 positive cases and 22 deaths recorded in Mumbai, the public health department of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) is stepping up facilities to treat and test Covid-19 patients.

After private laboratories were roped in to increase the number of testing, about 10,000 tests have been conducted in Mumbai so far — the highest number compared to any other city.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved six Mumbai private labs, including Thyrocare, Metropolis, Suburban Diagnostic, Sir HN Reliance and SRL Labs, to conduct Covid-19 testing. These labs also collect samples from home.

Six government hospitals, including Kasturba, KEM, JJ Memorial, Haffkine and NIV Mumbai, also test for coronavirus. These public hospitals have also started home collection of swabs to prevent people from stepping out.

In order to prevent community transmission, 10 Covid-19 screening clinics have been started in over 200 containment zones and densely populated areas in the city such as Dharavi and Worli Koliwada where focal outbreak has been observed. The civic body plans to increase the number of clinics in the coming days.

"Each clinic is run by a team of a doctor and a nurse along with the support of the assistant commissioner of the ward. The screening is being conducted for a period of four hours from 9 AM to 1 PM during which people with symptoms, or people who have come in contact with an infected patient, can visit the clinic," said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commisioner of the BMC.

"A swab-collecting facility is also available in these clinics and samples collected will be transported to a public laboratory for testing," he added.

Besides, several new isolation facilities have also been activated in various public and private hospitals. Over 700 isolation beds in a total number of 21 hospitals in the city are presently available for treating symptomatic patients.

These hospitals include Kasturba, St George, Bhabha, Seven Hills, Nanavati and Saifee, to name a few.

"We have the capacity to increase isolation beds to 2,200 in the coming weeks by roping in more hospitals," said Kakani.

Around 400 isolation beds are currently occupied by both positive and suspected patients.

Additionally, other centres have have been opened for asymptomatic patients that are below the age of 60. The number of beds for asymptomatic patients in the city is close to 1,000.

These patients will be sent to seven isolation centres identified by MCGM that include Maternity Home in Nagpada, PWD Guest House in Andheri and Urban Health Centre, to name a few.

These isolation centres are managed by doctors and paramedical staff and close to 150 suspected patients have been quarantined in these centres.

So far, more than nine lakh people have been surveyed and screened in the city and all the high-risk contacts have been shifted to lodges and hotels that have been especially made available for quarantining people.

first published:April 04, 2020, 20:29 IST