New Delhi: To combat the rising coronavirus cases in the state, Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government has allowed advanced testing for all healthcare workers and others working on the frontline in the COVID-19 pandemic battle. Also Read - 'China Caused Great Damage to US': Trump Sharpens Attack on Beijing Again Over COVID-19

“Anti-body tests and antigen tests have been allowed. Anti-body tests will be done primarily for frontline workers. We will be able to see if anti-bodies have developed or not and they will be able to work very well. We are taking a policy decision for anti-body tests for healthcare workers and frontline staff in all the districts,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope told reporters. Also Read - International Flights: SpiceJet to Operate 19 More Flights to Evacuate Stranded Indians From UAE, Saudi, Oman Under Vande Bharat Mission

He said that antigen tests will be helpful as they can produce results within an hour, similar to RT-PCR tests. Following an antigen test, the blood samples will be taken into RT-PCR test for confirmation, Tope said. Also Read - Coronavirus in Maharashtra: State Records 5,368 New Cases; Death Toll Breaches 9,000 Mark

“If it turns positive, then the patient is termed COVID positive. This will allow us to take swab samples and take tests in less time. In containment zones, this will help us speed up the testing process,” he added.

Introducing and explaining what a tele-ICU was, that the Maharashtra government has adopted, Tope said that this new technology will help the administrations to deal with the shortage of doctors and ICU beds and treat critical patients effectively.

“What we have seen so far during the outbreak is that 85 per cent of cases recover without any symptoms. Only 10-15 cent of the total patients need oxygen. Around 2-3 per cent become critical or serious and they need ICU care. ICU requires specialist doctors and this is where we are facing a shortage. They are intensivists. Because of their shortage, we are resorting to new technology by Medscape foundation. This is a group of doctors. They have sent a proposal to manage ICUs in five to seven districts,” he said.

In Mumbai, the city with the highest COVID-19 cases, he furthered that central management was the only way out, given the horrifying number of cases.

“Bed management in the CCC category and DCHC category for asymptomatic patients and patients who only need oxygen is happening without any problems. For serious or critical patients, we will create 500 beds in COVID hospitals. Once we increase these beds there will be no problem of a critical patient not getting a bed. For us the issue in bed management is that even ICU beds are being occupied by asymptomatic patients though their influence or by paying extra money,” Tope noted.

Notably, Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in the country due to coronavirus with total cases crossing the one lakh mark – 124,331 positive cases, including 5,893 deaths. In the past 24 hours, the state recorded 3,827 fresh COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours with 142 fatalities.