This includes those having influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms visiting a hospital either for consultation with a doctor or accompanying a patient, said an official.
The government has also made it mandatory for all asymptomatic patients undergoing aerosol generating interventions such as dental procedures and endoscopy, those requiring admission for chemotherapy, transplantations, those with malignant disease or HIV at any health facility to get rapid antigen detection tests done. All asymptomatic patients above 65 years of age and having comorbidities seeking admission in a hospital will also have to get the test done.
The health and family welfare department on Sunday issued an order increasing the scope of rapid antigen detection tests, which give clear results whether a person is infected with coronavirus or not within 30 minutes. The decision was taken with a view to test as many people in the national capital for Covid-19 as possible.
“All healthcare facilities are required to carry out ‘Rapid Antigen Detection Testing’ of following high risk of individuals who visit their facility – all individual/patients with ILI symptoms and all patients admitted with SARI (severe acute respiratory infection),” the order issued by the Delhi government’s health and family welfare department principal secretary Vikram Dev Dutt read.
The order further said the health facilities will also require to conduct rapid tests on all asymptomatic patients in high-risk groups such as those undergoing chemotherapy, immunosuppressed patients, including HIV positive, patients with malignant disease, transplant patients, elderly patients (above 65 years) with comorbidities and undergoing aerosol generating interventions.
According to the health bulletin released on Sunday, the Delhi government had conducted more than 23,000 tests on Saturday, which included 13,263 rapid antigen detection tests. The government has asked DMs of all 11 revenue districts to carry out 2,000 rapid tests each in their jurisdiction.
While initially the rapid antigen detection tests were being conducted only on high-risk contacts and those living in containment zones, the Indian Council of Medical Research recently issued fresh guidelines to take all people under its ambit.
All symptomatic people with influenza-like illness (ILI) in containment zones or hotspots and asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts with other ailments are being tested with rapid antigen detection kits. of confirmed cases.
Apart from setting up the testing centres outside the containment zones, some districts have even deployed mobile teams and given buses to move around and collect samples.
The districts have shortlisted their own target groups for conducting the tests. While in some areas, the frontline workers such as those working in containment zones, healthcare personnel and sanitation staff are being tested with the rapid detection kits, in others those working as essential services providers are being given the priority. In some other districts, the health teams have been taking samples of random people from a cross-section of society on a first-come-first-served basis, sources said.
The Delhi government had recently procured about six lakh rapid antigen detection kits and placed the order for another five lakh. A rapid antigen detection kit costs Rs 450 while an RT-PCR test comes for about Rs 2,400.