Delhi: As COVID cases surge, RT-PCR testing capacity hits max potential at 51,000 per day
New Delhi: As the COVID-19 cases have been witnessing a steep surge in the national capital, a night curfew has been imposed in the city from 10 pm to 5 am on Tuesday. The surge in cases has also led to increasing in a testing capacity. Out of the 85,000 tests which have been conducted daily over the past eight days, 51,000 have been RT-PCR and the rest were Rapid Antigen Tests, as per the Delhi government data. The RT-PCR testing capacity seems to have hit its maximum in the national capital.RT-PCR is considered the gold measure for testing COVID-19. The Rapid Antigen Tests on the other hand often have a scope of false-negative even if the person is infected. Thereby people prefer RT-PCR over Rapid Antigen tests.Rapid surge in casesSince last weeks, as there has been a rapid rise in cases, private labs have turned down patients by refusing to collect samples from home. The RT-PCR tests are free of cost in the government hospital. On the other hand, Rs 800 is charged by the private labs. Also, in order to collect the samples from home, Rs 400 is charged by private labs. Labs are overburdenedThe labs refused to collect samples by coming at home stating they were overburdened. As per the report in the Times of India, the owner of the private lab chain said that "We are conducting close to 4,000 tests daily. To do more tests, we might have to buy machines, hire more manpower and create space. All this costs money and requires time. We are short of both.”An IMA member told TOI that the current testing fee was not adequate to meet the break-even point. He also said that the matter has been brought to the notice of both Centre and the state. However, the issue has not been addressed yet.COVID cases in DelhiWith 7,437 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, Delhi recorded the highest single-day surge. Also, 24 people succumbed to the deadly contagious virus, thus pushing the fatality count to 11,157.The positivity rate jumped from 6.1% on Wednesday to 8.1% on Thursday, thus reflecting the speed at which the virus is spreading.With the surge in cases, there has been an increase in demand for beds, especially for critically ill patients. Also, many patients are forced to run from one hospital to another due to a shortage of beds.