In an attempt to avert another spike in COVID-19 cases, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has resumed door-to-door testing in some of its wards. In the past two to three weeks, civic officials informed, cluster cases have emerged from multiple housing societies. Therefore, the rate of testing has been ramped up.
"People have begun stepping out after the restrictions were eased. So, it’s quite natural to see a surge in cases. To make sure people stay safe and remind them of COVID-19 protocols, we have resumed door-to-door testing," said a senior civic official.
Civic officials of R-South (Kandivli) ward said that, on Wednesday, tests were conducted at Ekta Nagar, Bhoomi Park and Shivaji Nagar. Each day, 70 to 100 samples are submitted.
Another motive behind conducting door-to-door testing is to detect those infected with the delta or delta plus variant. "At present, the virus is mutating. We need to check if someone is infected by the newest variants," said an official of this ward. "Cluster cases have emerged in a few buildings. Therefore, it has become vital to trace high risk contacts," he added.
The local BMC office first contacts the office bearers of the housing society before conducting door-to-door testing. The office bearers fix a time. Medical staff then visit the building and collect samples. "After BMC fixes a time, we inform our members and request them to be available," said Shivam Nair, chairperson of Shanti Bhavan CHS, Malad, where a testing drive was conducted earlier this week.
With the availability of COVID-19 self-testing kits and more private laboratories conducting tests, patients don’t keep BMC informed. "In our building, two patients of the same family had tested positive last month. Even though they isolated themselves voluntarily, we were not informed about it. We got to know only after they recovered," said Rupesh Thakur, secretary of Skyline Heights, Borivali. "This is the reason door to door testing should be conducted frequently," he added.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of public health in the BMC, said that the civic body has been conducting 30,000 to 40,000 tests every day.
"During the first wave, local ward offices had arranged testing camps at many housing societies. So, we were able to trace many cases," he said. "The primary idea is to conduct more and more tests. If required, door-to-door collection could be started in full scale in Mumbai. However, the chances are low. The city has a low infection rate and the vaccinated population is also increasing," Kakani said.