As Covid-19 testing increases, positivity rate drops in Mumbai
With the introduction of large-scale antigen testing in Mumbai since the last week of July, the daily average for the number of Covid-19 tests conducted in the city has risen to...
With the introduction of large-scale antigen testing in Mumbai since the last week of July, the daily average for the number of Covid-19 tests conducted in the city has risen to 7,500. Despite the increase in testing, new cases have consistently remained below 1,000, which in turn has helped bring the city’s positivity rate down to 20.83%, from 21.68% in July.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) started its jumbo antigen testing drive on July 25, under which hundreds of frontline workers from the solid waste and police departments are being tested for Covid-19 every day. As of August 4, the civic body has conducted a total of 5,67,031 tests in Mumbai. In the past 12 days, BMC has tested XXXX individuals, using both antigen and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. RT-PCR is considered the gold standard in testing for Covid-19.
“On three consecutive days, we have tested more than 10,000 people in Mumbai. We are still trying to increase daily testing numbers. Along with this, we are also using x-ray and CT scan for diagnosis,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, BMC.
As per data from BMC, on July 27 a record number of 11,643 people were tested. This was the highest number of tests to be conducted in a day since the outbreak reached the city in March.
The increased number of tests has not seen a corresponding rise in the number of new cases recorded and the city’s daily Covid tally has remained below 1,000. Even on July 27, 938 new cases of Covid-19 were reported. Experts said this indicates flattening of the pandemic’s curve in Mumbai.
“In June, we were testing around 5,000 people daily. A section of the society claimed that due to the same testing number, the cases of new Covid-19 infection also remained constant, below 1,300. But now, even though we have doubled the testing, the new infection rate is below 1,000,” said Dr Shashank Joshi from the state’s Covid task force.
As the city and state gradually relax lockdown restrictions as part of Mission Begin Again, civic officials and doctors are relieved to see the number of new cases has plateaued. “Now, our primary target is [people in] residential buildings. We have been given a target of testing 400 people daily with rapid antigen kits. As many Covid care centre (CCC) facilities are closing down, we have decided to start doing antigen tests at home through private labs,” said a civic officer from R (Central) ward, which covers Borivli.