After using over 72,000 of the one lakh rapid antigen kits obtained in the first week of July, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) now plans to procure 50,000 more kits by September, as it looks to ramp up testing from next week.
The civic body conducts antigen tests majorly on frontline workers, shopkeepers and vendors in containment zones and high-risk contacts. The kits deliver test results within 15-20 minutes, but are less sensitive compared to RT-PCR tests. If a symptomatic patient is tested negative through the rapid antigen test, the patient is tested again through RT-PCR.
As of August 23, 72,515 antigen tests have been conducted, of which 4,105 have come positive. Of the total Covid tests conducted daily, more than 50% are rapid antigen tests. More than 2,000 antigen tests are carried out by BMC on a daily basis, which is apart from the ones conducted by private labs.
BMC has issued an expression of interest for procurement of next instalment of antigen kits. Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, said, “We are conducting antigen tests on a much larger scale. For now, we have issued a requirement of 50,000 kits and will procure more in the future.”
A senior civic official said, “We are going to continue aggressive testing through antigen kits. The 50,000 kits are expected to be received by September. Recently, all ward officers were given a target of completing 1,000 tests daily. These tests will majorly involve antigen kits as well as RT-PCR tests wherever it is required.”
Meanwhile, on Monday, Mumbai reported 743 new Covid-19 cases, the lowest single-day figure in August. The previous lowest daily count recorded was on July 28, when the city saw only 700 cases. There were 20 deaths due to Covid-19 on Monday, taking the toll to 7,442. Of the 137, 096 cases recorded in the city so far, 18,267 are active. The case fatality ratio of the city is 5.4%, and the recovery rate stands at 81%. As per BMC’s data, of the 20 deaths, 1 was of a patient below 40 years of age, six were between 40 and 60 years and 13 above 60 years.