With the unprecedented number of fatalities reported during the last three weeks and the overall nationwide positivity rate hovering above 20%, an obvious question that comes to the mind is- when should you get tested for Covid-19?
According to the updated advisory issued by ICMR on 04 May 21, the use of RT PCR has been optimised considering the extra load on the testing centres. ICMR has indicated that the total national daily capacity is close to 15 lakh tests which includes tests done in 2506 molecular testing laboratories across the country. Considering the limited number of tests that can be done, the advisory recommends the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for quick detection, isolation and initiation of treatment for curbing transmission.
This test has a short turn-around time of 15-30 minutes and hence, has a huge advantage of early detection of covid cases and offers an opportunity for quick isolation and treatment, and eventually curb the transmission of the disease.
When Should You Go For A RAT Test?
- If you have been a primary contact of a covid positive person, you should isolate yourself for 7 days and go for a RAT (Rapid antigen test) if you have symptoms such as fever with/without cough, headache, sore throat, breathlessness, body pain, recent loss of taste or smell, fatigue and diarrhea.
- In case you don’t have any of the above symptoms, but were a primary contact, you should still go for a RAT test immediately. In case the RAT test is positive, the advisory recommends that RT PCR is not to be conducted and the individual is to follow home isolation and treatment. However, in case the RAT is negative for symptomatic patients, then RT PCR is to be conducted.
The advisory has been essentially issued to reduce the load on the testing labs with the following additional conditions:
- If an individual is tested positive in RAT/RT PCR, the repeat confirmatory test is not to be done.
- RT PCR test should not be done on discharge from hospital for COVID recovered patients.
- RT PCR test should not be mandatory for any interstate/ domestic travel for healthy individuals.
- Interstate travel to be avoided by symptomatic individuals (Covid related or flu like symptoms)
- Asymptomatic individuals must follow laid down COVID appropriate behaviour.
Hope this article clears your doubts about the recent testing protocol and when to get tested for COVID-19. For more detailed information, you can visit the ICMR website.
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