How to go about COVID-19 testing, treatment in Mangaluru - By Dr Rouchelle Tellis














By Dr Rouchelle Tellis

Jul 13: As we are wading through the COVID-19 pandemic with anxiety and apprehension there is one thing common among all of us and that is uncertainty. With each passing day India as a country is witnessing a new record high of positive cases and fatalities caused by this viral infection. From the time this pandemic has gained momentum, I have been a part of the team that works closely with COVID care: including infection control practices, testing facility and management of COVID cases. From this experience, I have noted that a lot of anxiety stems from lack of authentic information about this disease. Even the medical fraternity does not have a complete understanding of the virus, new knowledge is emerging of a daily basis, based on which the testing and treatment modalities are evolving. A lot of us get
carried away by the social media messages and information that has made us believe that whoever gets this infection is doomed to die.

In the last one week Dakshina Kannada (DK) district has added close to 900 new cases and 25 deaths. This surge in the number of cases can soon overburden the city’s healthcare capacity, and already there have been many reports of patients not finding hospital beds or treatment facility on time. This has led to panic and confusion about how to go about if one tests positive for COVID. However, let me assure you that the DK district administration along with the private hospitals has put in tremendous efforts over the last 3-4 months to streamline COVID care in Mangaluru.

Dear friends, with this background, I felt there is a need for reliable real time information to reach all those who need it. In the next few sentences I will try to keep you informed about how you can go about the testing and treatment of COVID-19 in Mangaluru as per the current government guidelines.

When should you suspect that you should visit a doctor?

• In majority of the cases, patients develop mild/moderate symptoms or no symptoms at all.
• Some of the very common symptoms are: fever, dry cough, body ache, sore throat, diarrhea, headache, sudden loss of smell and taste.
• More severe cases may have breathing difficulty, chest pain or loss of speech or movement.
• If you have any of these symptoms, do consult your doctor and upon their advice you can get a COVID test done.
• Several hospitals have started tele-consultation services, which can be utilized instead of visiting the hospital. All patients reporting with Influenza like illness (ILI) will be tested if indicated.

Where can the test be done

• Testing for COVID is strictly on doctor’s prescription only.
• At present, Mangaluru has 5 ICMR approved testing laboratories for COVID RT-PCR test.
• One government Wenlock Hospital laboratory where the test is done free of cost.
• Other 4 are private testing laboratories at Yenepoya Medical College, Father Muller Medical College, KS Hegde Medical College and Kasturba Medical College. Testing at private laboratories can cost between Rs 3500 to Rs 4000.

How the sample is collected and when will the report be available

• You will have to visit a sample collection kiosk where two swabs are collected, one form deep inside the nose (Nasopharyngeal swab) and other one from the throat.
• These are then sent to the laboratory in a viral transport liquid.
• Test report will be available in 24 to 48 hours.
• Stay at home and isolate yourself until the result comes.
• If your report comes negative continue to remain in home isolation for the next one week until all your symptoms subside and then can resume work.

What if you test positive?

• If the report is positive the testing lab will inform the District Surveillance Officer (DSO), who in turn will inform the local ward officials and health care workers.
• A government health team will visit the patient’s residence for a medical screening and to find out contact history.
• They will check the patient’s body temperature, oxygen levels and enquire about co-morbidities (like heart ailment, hypertension, diabetes, TB, HIV, cancer, etc.)
• This team will also inspect the facilities at the patient’s house.
• Depending on the severity of the symptoms, general health status and the provision at the house, the health team will decide if the patient is eligible for home isolation or needs to be shifted to a COVID care centre (CCC). 

Home Isolation for Asymptomatic Patients

• Home isolation is permitted for patients who are clinically asymptomatic or having mild: temperature <38?, oxygen saturation level of > 95% and age below 60 years.
• Home isolation is not allowed for those who have co-morbidities such as kidney disease on dialysis, heart disease, stroke, TB, cancer, HIV or immuno-compromised individuals.
• Pregnant women up to four weeks before the expected date of delivery can opt for home isolation.
• The person must have necessary facilities for self-isolation at home with a separate and well-ventilated room with attached washroom.
• If the home is not found to be suitable, or if the patient’s symptoms worsen, they should be immediately moved to a COVID designated hospital.

Hospital admissions for COVID patients

• All those who do not meet the above criteria for home isolation will have to be admitted either in a COVID care facility or COVID designated hospital.
• Those with severe symptoms may require to be admitted to an intensive care facility.

Hospitals providing COVID care

• Dakshina Kannada has both government and private COVID care facilities and hospitals.
• Wenlock is the government COVID designated hospital and the treatment here is free of cost.
• If the beds in Wenlock hospital are full, the patients will be referred to private hospitals with a referral letter from the District Health Officer.
• For patients referred from Wenlock to private hospitals treatment cost is covered by the State Government under the Ayushman Bharat- Arogya Karnataka (AB-ArK) scheme.
• Cost is higher if a patient approaches private hospitals directly, though the state government has capped costs.
• Package rate ceilings for Covid-19 patients directly admitted by private hospitals, making cash payment without Insurance are as follows:

  • General Ward Rs 10,000
  • High dependency Unit Rs 12,000
  • Isolation ICU without ventilator Rs 15,000
  • Isolation ICU with ventilator Rs 25,000
  • An additional 10% may be charged for Twin Sharing Wards & 25% more for Single Rooms

Discharge Policy for COVID cases

• After treatment, a patient can only be discharged if they meet these criteria.
• Asymptomatic individuals who continue to remain asymptomatic will be discharged 10 days after the positive COVID test (For example if the patient is admitted on 1st July and continues to remain asymptomatic he/ she can be discharged on 11th July).
• All mild and moderate cases will be discharged 10 days after the onset of symptoms, only if the patient has no fever or symptoms for the last three consecutive days before being discharged.
• All sever cases will be discharged after complete clinical recovery and only if their repeat COVID test results are negative.
• After being discharged, the patients will be advised home quarantine and self-monitoring of health for another 14 days.

Ambulances for shifting COVID patients

The district administration has allotted separated ambulances for shifting COVID patients:

  • Dial 108 for Arogya Kavacha ambulance to shift patients
  • Dial 1912 if a government or private hospital denies bed

The author, Dr Rouchelle Tellis, MBBS, MD, PhD is the head of Infection Control and Consultant Microbiologist at Yenepoya Medical College Hospital at Deralakatte. She is also a part of the hospital core group working closely with COVID- 19. For further queries she can be contacted on 9449075102 or email





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Comment on this article

  • Dr. Vivian D'Costa, Mangalore

    Tue, Jul 14 2020

    Beautifully penned down article Dr. Rouchelle
    Its the need of the hour and can clear many doubts or misconceptions
    Definitely needs to be circulated as many people are unaware 'What to do Next?'

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossie Mascarenhas, Bajpe

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    It is indeed a very fearful and bitter reality !

    I appreciate out of all the commentators only one person Mr. Hc Shetty, Mangalore (see below his comment) had the good sense to ask for the clarification on the cost. Please Dr. kindly clarify about the cost of the treatment which is NOT clear.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Hilda Pinto, Mangalore/Attaver

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Sir its per day cost .. It was published few days back in local newspaper .. yes private hospitals its very costly .. But today our district in charge minister is saying even private hospitals with BPL and APL cards will get free .. I really do not know whether that can happen?

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossie Mascarenhas, Bajpe

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Hilda Bai thanks. Does anyone have an idea how many days one will have to remain (if life permits) in the hospital and how much the total bill would come to ? Read in newspaper in general the approx. total would come up to 3.5lacs or more ! Most of the people do not have insurance.

    I was watching few debates on DW 24x7 just yesterday. Trust me, it may be a fearful pandemic for the general public but the private hospitals are simply swindling people mercilessly. Positive turning negative and negative turning positive within short time. No report, no explanation. There is nobody to ask them.

    Govt. must immediately stop this daylight loot !

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Petter Dsouza, Mumbai

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    It is per day cost if I am not wrong.
    This is way to much affordability of the health care is seem to be a nightmare.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • RUDOLF V DSOUZA, Mangalore

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Thank you so much doctor, for your information about covid19 and all related facts and matters, flow of procedure and schedule of hospital expenses.
    I wish you all the best and more than thanking I keep you in my prayers also your team. My faith will protect you and your team from all kind of infection bcz Jesus is the real protector and provider and doctor. God bless you.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse


    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Thank you Dr. Rouchelle, for writing this article in this forum . This information is the need of the hour. Most of us us are totally ignorant of the protocol to be followed , once they get infected by this Virus. You have given all the required information to be followed.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Arun, Mangaluru

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Thank you Daijiworld team for this very informative article. Very useful indeed. Appreciated.

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Melwyn Fernandes, Dubai

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Very informative article. Thank You.

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • ronald gratian, Mangalore

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Thank you Doctor for this article. It was very informative.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Hc shetty, Mangalore

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Thank you for well presented information. The charges mentioned for treatment in Pvt hospitals is Per Day cost or Total cost of treatment?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Veera, Kankanady

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Very informative article Rochelle.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • sri_elder, Karkala

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Corona virus testing is so expensive.. personally for me its accuracy is still doubtful.. you cannot crosscheck virus presence from microscopes 😐

    DisAgree [3] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rehna., Mangalore

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Very good information how the patient will get treatment as all people had doubts in their mind.Thanks for the initivative. It was the government who shoul have published in the leading newspapers so that the patients do not panic

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Dr Rouchelle Tellis
    You have touched on all the aspects of testing & treatment of Corona Virus.
    All Mangaloreans are used to this Susegath Attitude.
    Everyday Covid-19 numbers are raising & now is the time to give them the Bitter Pill ...

    DisAgree [4] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alwin, Mangalore

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Thanks for the information

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse


    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Good Article explaining in detail what is to be done by infected & suspected person.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kelvin Peter Pais, Dr Kelvin Peter Pais

    Mon, Jul 13 2020

    Very well written Dr Rochelle. Your article will allay the misconception and fear of the this disease.
    Advising all readers to share this link with our fellow people so that they are informed.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

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