Kamal Dhukate of Rupeenagar in Pimpri Chinchwad died on September 11 at Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital (YCMH) because of acute respiratory failure. Her family members said she and her husband had taken both the RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests on September 1. The rapid antigen test reports for both of them had come negative. Now, even as Kamal’s RT-PCR test has returned positive, the husband’s report is yet to come, the family said.
The family said Kamal was admitted to YCMH after she started feeling uneasy on September 9. A day after she passed away, they got a call from the health department of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) saying that the test result was positive and that they would be sending a vehicle to pick her up for admission to hospital.
PCMC additional municipal commissioner Santosh Patil admitted to a delay in the test result. “At the municipal level, we have only one laboratory at YCMH to test samples. Six staffers at the laboratory tested Covid-19 positive in the past few days, putting tremendous load on the system. The uploading of test results on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) portal was also delayed,” he said.
Patil said results of over 150 samples were still pending. “If the YCMH staffers had communicated the test result pendency to us, we would have diverted it to a private lab,” he said.
Woman’s RT-PCR test +ve day after she dies
Kamal’s son Swapnil said the authorities had failed to take timely action.
“After their rapid antigen test results returned negative, my parents thought they had nothing to worry about and went about their routine work. My parents live with me, my wife and our three daughters. After my mother’s death, we all went to the same Yamunanagar-based testing centre to find out if we have contracted the infection. We were told that the results would take time and that if we wanted them urgently, we could always go to a private hospital,” he said, adding that this was a “mockery of the poor”.
Chandrakant Gourampotghan from Mohannagar is also spending anxious moments because his Covid-19 test result has been pending for the past five days.
He said his swab sample was collected on September 9 at the Shahunagar-based testing centre.
“I have been there at least twice and have been told that the test result has not come. I don’t know what to do,” he said.
Social activist Maruti Bhapkar has written to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray demanding that RT-PCR results be conveyed within two days. Bhapkar has mentioned Kamal’s death in his letter to the CM.