The functioning of Maradu Municipality is almost at a standstill due to the nearly week-long delay in receiving COVID-19 test results from the regional public health laboratory.
Nettoor Primary Health Center (PHC) had sent 259 samples last week to the lab, 59 of which belonged to municipal staff, including the chairman of the standing health committee. Following this delay, the president opted for an antigen test, was found positive and has since been released from quarantine.
“Ideally, those who donate samples for testing are expected to self-quarantine until the results are known. But with the delay, people have to get tested at private facilities while others choose to move. If the samples from the municipal staff who had voluntarily quarantined themselves were found to be negative, then the municipality would have unnecessarily lost their service for more than a week,” said Maradu Municipal Chairman Antony Ashanparambil, who had quarantined five times in a short time. succession, the latest being when the chairman of the standing health committee tested positive.
The Nettoor PHC collects an average of 100 samples on Mondays and Thursdays. “We are told the delay is because 12 public health lab staff have tested positive and the facility is struggling to cope with the shortage of hands. Collecting more samples on Monday will only add to the backlog,” a city health official said. It is learned that the lab is trying to fill the gap with temporary staff, but is still facing problems.
Mr Ashanparambil, however, alleged the delay was part of an attempt to promote private testing facilities or manipulate the rate of test positivity to avoid a backlash at a time when the ruling party continued its district meetings. .
The Maradu municipal office remains virtually closed with minimal staff while entry to the public remains prohibited. There are currently six active cases among city staff and delayed test results will show whether that number will increase.