Andhra allows general services at 5 state COVID-19 hospitals, slashes test prices

The five major hospitals that were tasked with treating serious COVID-19 cases have been asked to continue general services, citing a decline in COVID-19 cases.
COVID sample collection in Vijayawada
COVID sample collection in Vijayawada
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The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday denotified the five major hospitals that were previously classified as state COVID-19 hospitals, that were responsible for exclusively treating serious COVID-19 patients. The five hospitals — GGH Vijayawada, VIMS (Visakhapatnam), GGH Nellore, Padmavathi  Hospital (Tirupati) and GGH Kurnool — were conditionally denotified as the state COVID-19 hospitals, citing the falling COVID-19 cases detected in the state in the past four weeks. 

A COVID-19 instant order issued in this regard on Tuesday also claimed that since district-level hospitals are also now equipped with ventilators, ICU facilities and specialists, these five hospitals can continue their services as general hospitals with immediate effect. However, the denotification is conditional, the order said, adding that the five hospitals would have to earmark sufficient beds and wards for COVID-19 patients, and that they could again be notified as COVID-19 hospitals in case of a surge in COVID-19 cases. 

Earlier in April, the hospitals were notified to manage COVID-19 patients with comorbid conditions who required high-quality medical care. 

The state government on Tuesday also slashed the rates for COVID-19 testing by nearly 50%. The cost of testing, which was earlier fixed at Rs 800 for samples referred by the state government, has now been capped at Rs 475 per sample. For persons directly approaching the ICMR approved NABL labs for testing, the rate per sample has been brought down from Rs 1,000 to Rs 499 (for RT-PCR test, including the cost of PPE). 

The testing prices were reduced as a result of a fall in the cost of reagents or kits, “in view of increased availability of kits in the market and of competition as more firms started manufacturing RNA extraction kits and RT-PCR kits,” according to a government order issued on Tuesday by Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal. 

As of Tuesday, the state government has recorded a total of 8,76,336 COVID-19 cases since the onset of the pandemic, of which 4,660 cases are currently active. A total of 7,064 persons in the state have died from COVID-19, according to state government records.

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