Having ramped up testing facilities in Dakshina Kannada district, District Health and Family Welfare Officer Ramachandra Bairy on Thursday said expatriates, who are going abroad to resume work, will get reports of RT-PCR test for COVID-19 within eight hours of collection of their samples.
Speaking at the general meeting of the Zilla Panchayat here, Dr. Bairy said that the expatriates should clearly mention that they are undergoing the RT-PCR test as they need to resume work abroad. “They will get their reports within six to eight hours,” he said.
This test will be done free at the laboratory of the Government Wenlock Hospital, while it will cost ₹ 1,600 if it is done in private laboratories. The test results will be valid for 96 hours from the time of swab collection.
Panchayat members Koragappa Nayak, Mamata Gatty and Dhanalakshmi pointed to problems faced by patients in getting treatment for COVID-19 and other ailments in private hospitals. They pointed out that patients are charged hefty amount for preliminary investigation tests and treatment is not given till the amount is paid.
“How can you expect a poor patient to deposit money before hand when he is eligible for free treatment under the Ayushman Bharat Arogya Karnataka scheme,” Ms. Gattay asked. Another member K. Sujatha said that a hospital made a patient wait for eight days to give treatment.
Dr. Bairy said that directions were issued to all medical officers in taluk hospitals and community hospitals to refer all suspected COVID-19 cases to the Government Wenlock Hospital. “If the patient needs specialist services, we will refer to private hospitals,” he said. Hospitals were directed to treat emergency cases as suspected COVID-19 patients and continue with treatment in anticipation of RT-PCR test result. Most of the RT-PCR test results were being issued within 24 hours, he added.
On the demand for waiving charges for CT Scan and preliminary investigation tests being done for Ayushman Bharat Arogya Karnataka beneficiaries, Dr. Bairy said that nothing can be done at their level as it was a policy decision of the State government to collect preliminary investigation fees.
Earlier, members paid their condolences to the former President Pranab Mukherjee, singers S.P. Balasubrahmaniam and Pandit Jasraj and the former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh.