Sunday, September 20, 2020

My Covid Test Experience

I have had sore throats many a times in last few years, mainly because I have allergic reaction to cold water/drink, curb, ice cream etc especially when taken during night. Sometimes I also get sore throat due to weather change. In last 5 months itself since Covid spread started, I had it for few times. And I recovered in a few days.

When I had sore throat feeling on September 14, I had already gone into an isolation in my home as a precautionary measures. I also decided to consult a doctor. The doctor advised me to get the Covid test done immediately, either through a private lab or at the government hospital, mainly because of prevalent Covid situation in Pune. 

Rapid Antigen Test

So after 175 days of lock down and 190 days of first Covid case in Pune, I went to Khivansara Patil Government Hospital near Water Tank in Wakad on the morning of September 15 to get my test done. The Center usually opens at around 9:00 am and doctors come at 10:00 am. Do not go inside the hospital for the test. The tests are conducted outside near the entrance. At first, I stood in one line for 40 minutes to register the name. Here you'll get a sequence number that will be useful later. Then I stood again in another line for 30 minutes to get the liquid in small plastic tube for Antigen test. From there, I moved to another queue which goes to the first floor for the Rapid Antigen test. While there was some waiting in the queue, the test itself is pretty fast. In this test the swab, which resembles a pretty long cotton bud, is inserted deep into the nose. Then I waited for the result to come outside the hospital. The key is to maintain distancing as the area of full of patients and some of these can be Covid positive. With time, more and more people had come and it is quite difficult to maintain distancing.

Rapid Antigen test gives faster result, and within 30 minutes I was informed about the negative result. Identification is mostly done from the sequence number given earlier. In case of positive result, the patient is immediately isolated and asked to report to doctor.

Liquid Tube for Rapid Antigen Test


In case of negative result of Antigen test, as per ICMR guidelines, RT-PCR test is done to rule out the infection. All the people with negative Antigen test result stood in another queue to get the red liquid for RT-PCR test. This queue progressed very slowly and it took 40 minutes to get the kit despite having on 10 people in the queue. Then I stood in the queue for the test. RT-PCR test is also done at the same place on the first floor where Antigen test was done. In this test, the swab is inserted into the mouth all the way up to the throat to collect the sample.

Liquid Tube for RT-PCR Test

Total time taken (since the arrival at the center): 2 hours 30 minutes

The tests at government hospitals are completely free. While the procedure can be made a bit faster, I appreciate the hospital staff and police personnel deployed there, dealing with the pandemic everyday.

There are private labs that charge INR 2000/- and do the tests at the home of patient.

The result of RT-PCR test takes 2-5 days to come. So I came back home and continued my self-isolation, waiting for the result. Next day, I got an SMS from myGov, informing me about the submission of RT-PCR sample, along with a link containing pdf form.

The Isolation

In Sweden, it is said that people would go in isolation the moment flu like symptoms appear even before the Covid came. In India, people would continue to go to offices, schools, malls and other public places despite fever or cold. Hopefully with the Covid experience, this behavior will change.

As I mentioned above, I had gone into an isolation in my home in a separate room since the symptoms of sore throat started. It is recommended that the isolation room has attached bathroom to avoid going out.

During the isolation
  • Avoided any contact with other people.
  • No family member entered in my room.
  • If anything was needed, things were kept at the door, which were picked up, maintaining the distance.
  • Mask was used inside home by everyone for the greater part of the day unless the door of the room is closed.
  • Frequent cleaning of hands
  • Washed the used utensils with soap and kept outside the room. Picked up later.
Medication and fitness, which was mainly aimed at improving the immunity and recovery.
  • Continued with regular exercise and yoga in the morning
  • Lungs exercise as suggested by Dr Sandhya Ramanathan in this informative video -
  • Frequent checking of O2 levels
  • Intake of multi-vitamins (esp Vitamin D, C and Zinc)
  • Salt water and Betadine gargles multiple times during the day, esp before sleeping (with hot water)
  • Jalniti (put a drop of Betadine in the water) twice a day
  • Ginger-honey syrup
  • Drinking hot/warm water
  • 5 day course of Amoxicillin (consult doctor)
The isolation can be quite tough mentally as the movements and communication with family is restricted. Keeping the positive attitude, doing meditation and engaging mind in work, reading or entertainment will help reduce the anxiety.

It is important to not stay up till late and have a good night's sleep.

There is a good video on home isolation -

RT-PCR Test Result

Thankfully the sore throat symptoms gradually started fading, and I didn't develop any other symptoms like fever, cold etc. There was a contact number of a doctor on the PDF received earlier. I contacted that lady doctor after 2 days, and through her, I came to know of my RT-PCR test result on September 18.

I had tested Negative.

While this indeed was a good news and brought relief to the family, we decided to continue with the isolation for few more days till September 21 as a measure of precaution.

There is a very good graphics that highlights the days when the virus is transmissible. The first 10 days are crucial where isolation can help reduce the spread. 

Pune has become an epicenter of the Covid spread, and therefore it will be good to take extra precautions. An early detection will be quite helpful and in some cases may be life-saving.
  • Observe your body carefully, and get yourself checked by doctor in case of flu like symptoms.
  • Now it is possible to get the Covid test done even without prescription at Government hospitals in Pune.
  • Use mask and maintain distance while going out.
  • Use mask at home if you are not feeling well.
  • Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin D deficiency are quite common. Boost immunity through diet and/or multivitamins.
While infection through surface is possible, it is highly unlikely. Most likely cause of infection will be through droplets. Therefore it is better to maintain distancing and use mask.

The mask is supposed to cover your nose and mouth all the time. If it is not, it is useless to wear one.

And no, masks are not suffocating. If you feel that way, find an open space to lower your mask.

Do not panic and do provide helping hand. The fight is against the virus, and not against the people having virus.

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