Tribune News Service
Shimla, September 9
The Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) and Hospital has received rapid antigen kits and antibody detection kits and has started coronavirus tests with the latest equipment. Given the spurt in the number of Covid cases in the hospital in the last few days, which included doctors and other healthcare workers, the arrival of kits will help in the timely detection of the infection.
Minister still positive, released from hospital
The Jal Shakti and Horticulture Minister, who tested positive for coronavirus on September 3 after returning from Delhi, has been discharged from the IGMC to go for home quarantine. The minister had again tested Covid positive in the follow-up test on Tuesday. “There are guidelines for home quarantine even for Covid patients if they are asymptomatic and have the right environment and place for self-isolation at home,” said Dr Pathania.
Until now, the hospital had been testing coronavirus suspects with RT-PCR and TrueNAT tests, which takes much longer compared to the rapid antigen test, for results. “The rapid antigen kit gives you the result in 15 to 30 minutes, while the RT-PCR test takes eight to nine hours and TrueNAT around two to three hours,” said IGMC principal Dr Rajnish Pathania.
“The antigen kit will help us a lot, especially in emergency cases even if it is slightly less reliable compared to the other two tests. In emergency cases, our doctors had no time to wait for coronavirus reports, as it took hours, but now we will have the reports within half an hour. Knowing the status of a patient will help doctors and other staff to treat him without fear and uncertainty,” said Dr Pathania.
There have been cases in the past when a patient treated in the emergency situation turned out to be Covid positive later, forcing the hospital to quarantine doctors and other staff members who attended to him. Besides, the hospital is battling a shortage of nursing and paramedical staff.
The hospital has also tested its health workers from frontline departments such as medicine and surgery with antibody detection kits. “We tested 90 of them, and four showed the presence of antibodies, meaning they had contracted infection sometime in the past. They will be more confident in treating the patients,” said Dr Pathania.