TMC starts own throat swab test facility

April 19, 2020

The Thane Municipal Corporation set up its first Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing facility, which will conduct throat swab tests for the novel coronavirus. The facility has already begun operations at the CR Wadia Hospital in Tembhi Naka, an official told Mirror. The number of coronavirus cases in Thane rose to 130 over the weekend.

The laboratory is fully compliant with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) standards and will provide free-of-costs tests, the official said. The ICMR has allowed two forms of testing in the country. The PCR test requires the collection of throat swabs and take six hours for results. The second, rapid antibody test, is a blood test that detects antibodies in the bloodstream and provides results within half an hour.

Over a week ago, Mirror had reported that the civic body expected to start their own PCR testing facility but that it was awaiting approval from the ICMR to begin. Before this, the city relied on two privately-run testing facilities -- Metropolis Lab on the Ghodbunder Road and another centre at Wagle Estate.

Civic official Sandeep Malvi told Mirror that the facility will reduce the city’s dependence on Kasturba Hospital and JJ Hospital, where it would take Thane residents an average of two days to receive test results. “The hospitals were already reeling from a heavy load of cases. This will reduce the wait period from two days to six hours,” Malvi said.

Until now, patients who wanted to get themselves tested would have to pay up to Rs 4,500 at private facilities in Thane. Malvi added that the new testing facility would be able to handle a hundred throat swab samples on a daily basis. “Since we now have our own facility, we expect a considerable rise in testing capacity,” he said.

The new facility will only be used to test patients quarantined by the TMC at their facilities, Malvi told Mirror. This includes the TMC-run Thane Civil Hospital and Horizon Prime, a private hospital ‘acquired’ by the civic administration on the Ghodbunder Road.

Patients who test positive for the novel coronavirus are relocated to the Thane Civil Hospital or to Horizon Prime “All our departments have been converted to fight the coronavirus. Those patients suffering from other ailments have been moved to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Hospital in Kalwa while new patients are also sent there,” said Dr Kailash Pawar, a surgeon at Thane Civil Hospital.

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