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Awareness of the symptoms and early testing are the only ways to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
India has recently surpassed Brazil to become the second most affected country due to the coronavirus. Increased testing and building awareness on the symptoms have helped many states tackle the pandemic to a large extent.
Any who is found suspicious with the symptoms are urged to get tested immediately. However, it is not an easy procedure. COVID-19 testing till now is only done at specific centers only after the doctor's approval.
Moreover, asymptomatic patients are also not tested. Here are all the latest updates on who can get tested and when and why is early testing important?
Testing delays can spike up transmission
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Every state in India has its own testing policies and in some cases the diagnosis is done very late leading to helplessness of patients. Time taken for the PCR test result also takes around 3 days for the result to come. However, the testing guidelines have been changed now which allows more individuals to get screened for COVID-19.
Revised testing protocol by ICMR.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has relaxed rules for COVID-19 testing and advised the authorities to start testing all the people living in the containment zones.
ICMR has also initiated the test-on-demand scheme which means that there would be no necessity to carry a doctor's prescription for testing.
Not only would this scheme allow early detection of COVID-19 but also allows to bring in normalcy very fast.
What is on-demand testing?
According to the new guidelines, asymptomatic individuals can now get tested by themselves.
Apart from allowing people to get a free test done for themselves, ICMR prioritised the testing protocols under the following categories:
● Asymptomatic patients in need of acute surgery
● High risk contacts
● People with respiratory infections
● Anyone suffering from influenza.
What is the right time to get tested?
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COVID-19 symptoms feel similar to many other infections like common cold, dengue or typhoid. With the onset of monsoon season, the chances of getting viral infections has also increased.
If anyone has a doubt or have developed similar symptoms can call the helpline number +91-11- 23978046 for more details.
Who should get tested?
Not every infection is COVID-19 and not every fever is related to the coronavirus.
A COVID test must only be taken if the symptoms don't subside even after 2 or 3 days after taking medications.
Patients with symptoms of cold and fever can consult a doctor and get diagnosis and if the symptoms like loss of smell, headache and gastrointestinal issues still persist, they can get tested.
How frequently can you get tested?
Once a person recovers from COVID-19, antibodies will be developed in the body that establishes immunity to fight against the infection once again.
An antigen test can confirm that.
For those undergoing treatment for COVID-19, retesting is not necessary till the date of discharge.
An RT-PCR test is considered to be the most reliable test and an effective tool for diagnosis.
If an asymptomatic patient tests negative in Antigen test, they should follow it with RT-PCR test.
- By Gayatri Yellayi