RDS questions accuracy of antigen cases

RDS questions accuracy of antigen cases

A saliva sample is taken for antigen testing from a student before class commences in Samut Prakan in February. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Rural Doctor Society (RDS) has raised questions over the accuracy of the number of new Covid-19 cases detected using a rapid antigen test kit (ATK), which is reported daily by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

The number of new infections found via ATK tests in three provinces on Wednesday was far higher than the total number of ATK positive cases nationwide for the same day recorded by the CCSA the following morning, said the group in a Facebook post on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Chon Buri reported 8,323 ATK positive cases, Songkhla 4,839 and Chiang Rai 3,322, adding up to 16,484, said the group whose members are mostly doctors and directors of district hospitals around the country.

Yet the corresponding number from the CCSA for the entire country was 16,079, said the group.

“We, the front-line healthcare workers, are working hard as we aim to bring the number of new infections down by containing the spread of the virus as well as we can,” the group said.

“We, too, expect to see a lower number of new cases as we are trying harder to contain the spread of the virus, but making up an ideal figure just isn’t the way to go,” it noted. “Reporting the actual number of new infections will instead help raise public awareness about the outbreak situation.”

The CCSA, meanwhile, said the number of new infections in Thailand is now on the rise, as is the rate of infected patients suffering serious lung infections and the number of Covid-19 deaths per day.

The cumulative number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases recorded in the past week was 176,606, higher than any neighbouring countries, said Dr Sumanee Wacharasint, CCSA assistant spokeswoman, referring to Malaysia, Singapore, Laos and Myanmar.

On Wednesday, 27,560 new infections confirmed by RT-PCR testing and 16,079 infections found in Covid-19 tests using ATKs were recorded, she said. Of all 246,770 patients currently either receiving treatment or in isolation, 1,808 are suffering lung infections, she said. Of the latter, 713 are on ventilators, she said.

This clearly indicates an upward trend in not only the number of new infections recorded daily but also the number of infected patients requiring assistive devices for breathing, she said.

Provinces seeing a rise in patients suffering lung infections include Bangkok and Rayong, Dr Sumanee said.