BBMP testing efforts yield molehill out of mountain

As colleges reopen, BBMP Covid-19 testing efforts yield molehill out of mountain

The turnout was extremely low at almost every college. The picture is from Government Maharani Women's College on Tuesday. Credit: DH Photo/B H SHIVAKUMAR

On the day degree colleges opened, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) tested 15% of the students, staff and non-teaching staff in 360 colleges in the city that fall in its jurisdiction. 

Out of an estimated 75,163 staff and students available for testing, the Palike took swab samples of 11,574 individuals with the help of 222 testing teams.

Incidentally, two tested positive. BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad told DH: "Most of the colleges did not open or students opted for offline classes. We have not only mapped primary health centres to colleges but also offered to deploy mobile testing teams on campus if required. But out of 468 teams, only 222 were deployed today because of the low turnout." 

Rajendra Cholan, the BBMP nodal officer for Covid testing, echoed him. "There were 666 people on the field at colleges. As per feedback from our medical officers, there is not much demand. There is absolutely no shortage of testing teams. It is also possible that some students and staff got tested in the three days prior to the date of joining as the state government had already informed them that a negative certificate is mandatory," Cholan said. 

The two individuals who tested positive were among the 300 tested in the BBMP West Zone's Govindarajanagar range where two teams were deployed to test students and staff of nine colleges mapped to the AD Halli health centre. 

The highest tests were done in the West Zone where 3,430 were tested from 51 colleges. Sixty-five people from 21 colleges were tested in Dasarahalli, 751 from 19 colleges in Bommanahalli, 150 from 31 colleges in Mahadevapura, 917 from 66 colleges in RR Nagar, 1,444 from 35 colleges in Yelahanka, 3,303 from 63 colleges in East and 1,514 students and staff from 74 colleges in the South Zone. 

The testing was done free of charge. Nagendra Nayak, Assistant Commissioner, Education, BBMP, said: "At four BBMP first-grade degree colleges on Magadi Road, Kasturba Nagar, Cleveland Town and Byraveshwara Nagar, classes will be held from Thursday because on Tuesday and Wednesday, we hope to finish testing 354 final-year degree students, 49 PG students and 54 lecturers. Some BBMP college lecturers had also visited the primary health centre mapped to their respective colleges on Monday itself to get tested." 

In all, there are 141 PHCs mapped to each college open from 9 am to 5 pm where people can get themselves tested. Each mobile team consisted of two auxiliary nurse midwives and two medical officers.

"For every 50 students/staff, one mobile team was deployed. In colleges with 100 or more people, two or more teams were deployed," said Dr Sandhya, Nodal Officer, Managed Health Care, BBMP.