Healthcare professionals say reluctance of symptomatic persons to get tested could cause a lot of harm to their own health

Notwithstanding two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain individuals have been found to be resisting routine medical tests and procedures. With the ongoing surge in COVID cases, such reluctance could prove detrimental to their health, opine healthcare professionals.

Doctors at government hospitals, who attend patients with the symptoms, say many of them are reluctant to undergo COVID diagnostic tests while some others are curious to know if they have contracted the Delta or Omicron variant. Then there are those who have been requesting ‘tests’ for Omicron diagnosis. There is also a category of people who are consulting doctors but do not want to know their infection status.

Doctors say reluctance to get tested could do more harm to the COVID-positive person and to society at large. Since infection with Delta variant could lead to aggravated condition in just a matter of few days, doctors have urged people not to resist tests if they have symptoms.

Assistant Professor of General Medicine at Osmania General Hospital Pratibha Lakshmi says, “They say they will undergo testing only when they have severe symptoms. Delta variant is also in circulation. If they do not undergo tests or consult doctors for appropriate treatment, their condition might deteriorate within a week in case they have Delta infection. This can be avoided by undergoing test at the first instance of the symptoms manifesting.”

Vaccine ‘confidence’

Civil Assistant Surgeon (Pulmonologist) at Government District Hospital in King Koti, P. Raghavendra Reddy, who has been checking patients at the Fever Clinic, points out that a few individuals suspected to have the infection questioned why must they undergo testing after having taken both doses of COVID vaccine. “If someone has the virus but does not know about it, and goes out, they might spread it to more people. We try to convince people with the symptoms to undergo tests which helps not only them but also cuts down the possibility of transmission,” he adds.

Director of Public Health G. Srinivasa Rao had recently expressed concerns on the same lines. At a press conference held on Thursday, he said while 90% of current cases are asymptomatic, and the remaining 10% have symptoms such as mild fever, discomfort in throat, cough, severe headache or bodyaches, and weakness. Those with the symptoms were advised to undergo tests.

“Delta too is prevalent along with Omicron. The rate of hospitalisation and severity of symptoms are low in people with Omicron. But health condition of those with Delta variant, who have similar symptoms, can become serious in just three days,” Dr Srinivasa Rao had cautioned.

Genome sequencing is performed to know which of the two variants one has. However, it is not done for all positive samples. The sequencing is used as a surveillance mechanism but not as a diagnostic test.

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