A dedicated laboratory to test samples for Covid-19 was set up first at KIMS after it emerged the first resident in Dharwad to be confirmed infected – in the second week of March – had travelled to several private hospitals before it was learnt that he was positive for the novel coronavirus. KIMS was also designated a Covid Care Centre (CCC). However, mounting cases in Dharwad and neighbouring districts of Koppal, Ballari, Gadag, Haveri, Uttara Kannada and Bagalkot – samples were being dispatched from all these districts to KIMS – meant that the laboratory was too overburdened.
Recognising the need for distributing this burden, then Dharwad deputy commissioner Deepa Cholan and MP Pralhad Joshi submitted a proposal to ICMR seeking permission to set up a lab at Dimhans. While throat and nose swabs collected from Dharwad residents were still being tested at KIMS, swab samples collected from residents of other districts were sent to the laboratory at Dimhans.
The laboratory at Dimhans has, as on October 20, conducted one lakh tests for Covid-19. On average, around a 1,000 samples are being tested daily for Covid-19 at the laboratory, said Dimhans director Dr Mahesh Desai.