BMC extends Mobile COVID Testing Facility for All

As the number of COVID cases has decreased steadily over the past few months, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Council (BMC) has also proportionately cut down on its COVID testing kits used in primary and community healthcare centres. Instead, the BMC’s mobile COVID testing vans, deployed into service only a few months ago, has become the most sought after option for people looking to get tested.

The mobile vans were initially meant only for disabled people, senior citizens, pregnant women and children. However, as days passed people have found the accessibility and service of the mobile vans more convenient than going for testing in a healthcare facility. Introduced in August, it could not initially cater its services to all because of high demand.

A BMC official said that more than 2400 people had used the mobile testing vans for their COVID checkup by October. As of present, around 6000 people have availed of the service. “Since the mobile facility offers the RT-PCR test, which is considered more accurate than the rapid antigen test, it is very much in demand. All people need to do is to make a call to the control room and furnish their details, including address, time of collecting the swab and mobile number. It has to be booked a day in advance,” said a BMC officer.

One cardinal reason as to why people have now begun preferring the mobile testing units is because of the perception that effective social distancing norms may be compromised at the primary healthcare centres. “Since the mobile testing facility is there, it is better to avail ourselves of it as there is no risk involved in giving a swab sample at home. If you have four members in your family, all of them can give their samples at one go. Multiple members of a family going to testing centres is fraught with risk,” said a resident of Nayapalli.

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