New Delhi, Oct 27 (PTI) Around 85 per cent of the symptomatic patients, who tested negative for COVID-19 in the rapid-antigen test, have been retested by the health authorities in Delhi so far this month using the more reliable RT-PCR method, according to official data.
In September, only 10 to 15 per cent of such cases were being followed up with an RT-PCR test, the data showed.
The increase in retesting numbers came after Special Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Udit Prakash Rai issued a directive to all districts in September, to ensure that all symptomatic negative cases of rapid-antigen tests are retested using RT-PCR.
According to a report prepared by the health department, 84.59 per cent of the symptomatic negative cases of rapid-antigen tests have been followed up between October 1 and October 20 with an RT-PCR test.
Northwest District DM Sandeep Mishra told PTI that every rapid-antigen test negative yet symptomatic case was being retested through the RT-PCR method.
'We are conducting 100 per cent follow up of such cases. Sometimes, data entry takes time and it shows a different figure,' he said, adding in the northwest district, around 1,100 RT-PCR tests and 5,000 rapid antigen tests are conducted every day on an average.
Last month, the Union Health Ministry had asked all states and Union Territories to mandatorily retest all symptomatic negative cases of rapid antigen tests through RT-PCR so that no positive COVID-19 cases were missed and the spread of the infection could be effectively curbed.
Guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), as well as the Union Health Ministry, clearly state that all symptomatic (with fever, cough or breathlessness) negative cases of RAT and asymptomatic cases of RAT that develop symptoms within two to three days of being tested negative must necessarily be retested through RT-PCR tests.
The Delhi health department data showed 2,78,891 RT-PCR tests were conducted in the city in September and the positivity rate was 17.35 per cent.
Between October 1 and October 22, health authorities conducted 2,66,586 tests, of which 12.32 per cent were found COVID-19 positive.
Of the 12,50,246 rapid-antigen test samples taken in September, 4.60 per cent tested coronavirus positive, whereas 3.69 per cent of the 8,57,855 cases tested using the method between October 1 and October 22 had the infection.
The authorities traced 2.1 persons for every positive case detected in September. It increased to 13.1 in October, according to the data. PTI GVS BUN NSD