The government of Karnataka has become perhaps one of the very first in India to permit a syndromic approach to tackle the second wave of Covid-19. According to the latest strategy, symptomatic patients who test negative on an RT-PCR test will be able to get immediate admission into hospitals or medical facilities. This will ensure that many lives are saved in Karnataka, and unnecessary formalities are done away with so that immediate medical aid can be administered to Covid-19 patients displaying severe symptoms. The decision to allow symptomatic patients to get direct admission was taken after the state witnessed a surge in false negative cases.
A false negative is a test result which, for a variety of reasons, shows an inaccurate result. As such, Covid-19 infected patients sometimes have their RT-PCR or rapid antigen test reports stating that they are negative. This leads to them not being provided admission into hospitals, thus leaving them in the lurch – very often leading to fatal consequences. Now, if a patient shows all symptoms of Covid-19 and is in need of a hospital bed, they shall be provided with the same even if the test result shows them to be Covid-19 negative.
“During the recent surge, an increasing number of false negative reports have been witnessed under both the methods of COVID testing viz. RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Test, enhancing the necessity of admitting and treating a large number of patients under the syndromic approach,” the Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akhtar said in his circular. According to a report by One India, the hospitals have been directed to follow a ‘Syndromic Approach’ and issue ‘Patient Numbers’ for hospitalisation and treatment of such cases based on the authorization of doctors.
The report added that because such patients’ COVID reports had come out negative, the government did not give them a patient number. Without a patient number, such infected person could not avail any benefits and required treatment. According to the syndromic approach, however, this is set to change.
Earlier, in a relief to non-Covid patients, the government of Karnataka had directed hospitals in the state, especially private establishments, to refrain from demanding non-Covid infected patients to furnish RT-PCR Covid negative certificates before providing them admission. The government made it clear that non-Covid patients were not required to provide a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 report, and had warned hospitals against pressing for the same, saying violators would be booked under provisions of the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment (KPME) Act.
The syndromic approach adopted by the state of Karnataka will save many lives. All states of India need to adopt a similar strategy, and not leave citizens to fend for themselves.