Introduction: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) struck Pakistan with a magnitude that required micro- and macro-level adjustments at national and provincial levels. Access to medical consultation became a challenge; hospitals were flooded with cases beyond their capacity and transport was halted due to lockdown. Global Health Directorate of The Indus Health Network supported the provincial government by rolling out several walk-in community-based testing initiatives across Karachi. Results were conveyed to the patients through each district government. With a disproportionate rise in cases, an increasing delay in reporting results was observed. Methods: To help the district government bridge this gap, two physicians were engaged to convey timely results to patients who tested positive, through a helpline. Subsequently, proactive teleconsultation was initiated. We present a retrospective review of data collected during teleconsultation for COVID-19 cases identified through community-based testing between April 5 and June 10, 2020. Results: A total of 4,279 tests were conducted, revealing a 28% positivity rate (1,196 cases). Out of these, 752 (62.9%) baseline positive patients were contactable. Most patients identified either a close contact (46.8%) or a household contact (30.1%) as the source of infection. 41.8% patients were asymptomatic, 52.9% had mild to moderate illness, and 1.1% needed referral to the emergency department. 82.7% patients reported no comorbidities. Conclusion: The rapid surge of cases could not be handled by a small team and an institutional strategy of integration into an existing call center service was adopted. We share our insights to help develop evidence-based policies to effectively tackle current or future threats in similar settings.
- community testing