COVID-19 cases slowly begin to rise in Delhi despite fewer RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests

Health minister Satyendar Jain attributed it to“patients from outside getting tested here”. He also claimed that hospital admissions have increased due to the patients coming from outside Delhi

A health worker collects swab samples for rapid antigen testing for COVID-19, in New Delhi
A health worker collects swab samples for rapid antigen testing for COVID-19, in New Delhi
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Ashlin Mathew

The number of Covid-19 cases are slowly rising in Delhi despite fewer RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests. On Wednesday, August 19, 1,398 persons tested positive, and this is an increase of 24 patients compared to Tuesday, August 18. There were 14,498 RAT and6,317 RT-PCR tests; 14,847 RAT and 5,419 RT-PCR tests conducted respectively.

Correspondingly, the number of Covid-19 cases have been increasing at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) under the central government and Lok Nayak Hospital (LNH) under the Delhi government.

AIIMS New Delhi admits Covid-19 patients at both the Trauma Centre at Safdarjung Enclave in south Delhi and at Jhajjar in Haryana. As of August 18, there were 154 Covid-19 patients at the Trauma Centre and more than 230 patients at Jhajjar. Last week, at the Trauma Centre there were less than 100 patients and at Jhajjar there were only 83.

At Lok Nayak Hospital, as of August 18, there were 352 patients admitted, of which 292 are Covid-19 positive and the rest suspected. Of these 91 patients require oxygen support. The number had fallen to 304 patients on August 12, of which 255 were Covid-19 positive. Since then the number of caseshave been steadily rising in the hospital too.

“This was bound to happen as both ICMR and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare guidelines state that a patient can be discharged after 10 days of the onset of symptoms and if the patient has no fever for 3 days. A Covid-19 negative test result is not the criteria for discharge from the hospital. So, in all likelihood, several of those patients would have infected many people once they left for home,” underscored a doctor working with Covid-19 patients. The doctor did not want to be identified.

The number of active cases too have been increasing. On Wednesday, there were 11,137 active cases in the capital, while on Tuesday, it was 11,068. Last week, on August 12, there were 10,946 active cases, while on August 5, there were only 10,076 active cases.

The Covid-19 positivity rate has also been increasing. Positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive for the virus of those who have been tested on a particular day. On Wednesday, the positivity rate was 14.8, which means it took 14.8 tests to find one Covid-19 positive case. Last week, it was 16.9. This rate cannot be compared to the positivity rate in June as then there were only RT-PCR tests conducted.

From June 18, Delhi began to conduct antigen tests too, but the government doesn’t separately state the number of positive cases from the different tests.

There were signs of increase from August 6 onwards, when after almost two weeks the number of Covid-19 positive cases increased to 1,299. It then rose to 1,404 on August 8. Over the weekend, the number of Covid-19 positive cases reduced, only to slowly rise all through last week.

When the numbers had begun to increase, the health minister Satyendar Jain had attributed it to "patients from outside getting tested here". The health minster had also claimed that hospital admissions have increased due to the patients coming from outside Delhi.

Delhi has done 13,58,189 Covid-19 tests so far, of which 1,56,139 tested positive. There have been 4,235 Covid-19 deaths in the capital.

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