‘Tested Negative Twice via Rapid Test, RT-PCR Showed I Had COVID’

Priyam Dutta
·3-min read

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Video Producer: Maaz Hasan

What would you do if you have all the symptoms of COVID-19 and yet you test negative for the novel coronavirus? Would you take the test again? What will you do if you test negative a second time, but still have all symptoms? Would you take the test a third time?

This is what I had to do in Bengaluru. A loss of smell, taste, and difficulty in breathing prompted me to get tested for coronavirus on 11 September. My rapid test result was negative. I was happy and so was my family.

Unfortunately, the symptoms did not subside and I realised that I should get myself tested again, as rapid tests can throw false negatives.

A primary healthcare centre for COVID testing in Bengaluru.
A primary healthcare centre for COVID testing in Bengaluru.

On 13 September, I went to Varthur Primary Healthcare Centre in Bengaluru and got tested again. It was negative, again. Regardless of what the result said, I wasn’t feeling normal or healthy. I then asked the doctor if I could get an RT-PCR test.

According to guidelines issued by the government, if symptomatic patients test negative via rapid test, a RT-PCR test needs to be administered for reconfirmation.

Priyam was tested negative twice.
Priyam was tested negative twice.

To my surprise (or lack thereof), the result was positive. I had tested negative twice before finally testing positive! Imagine if I had left my fate to the first test result.

RT-PCR test result showed that Priyam was coronavirus positive.
RT-PCR test result showed that Priyam was coronavirus positive.

"“I would have been a ‘super spreader’ in Bengaluru. I could have gone out, met my friends, gone to the market. I could have been be anywhere. So, I could have spread the virus everywhere.”" -

It was only because of my insistence that I got the correct result. The government should look into the matter urgently. A lot of public money is being spent on rapid testing but if it is not giving accurate results, it is a waste of resources.

‘Govt Should Reconsider Testing Methods’

To combat the spread of COVID-19, it is very important that we do complete contact tracing and we test in the correct way. Even after a very harsh lockdown, we have been unable to contain the spread of the virus. So, in these situations, we must reconsider our approach to fighting it.

A lot was said about the behaviour of the virus in India and asymptomatic cases were considered as a major challenge in containing its spread.

However, in my case, even after being symptomatic, I tested negative twice.

Therefore, it’s not only the asymptomatic patients that are turning up as a challenge but also the kind of testing that we have in place.

(A BBMP official confirmed to The Quint that RT-PCR is a confirmatory test. If the rapid test result is negative but symptoms prevail, the sample is re-tested via RT-PCR. The Varthur PHC administration did not answer The Quints calls.)

(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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