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Maharashtra’s Covid-19 tally crosses 200K with record spike

Maharashtra’s record Covid-19 case spike of 7,074 infections in a single day took it past the 200,000 mark to 200,064. The state also reported 295 new deaths — highest reported in a day — taking the toll to 8,671.

The state’s first lakh cases took 96 days, while the second took just 22 days. The state has reported 40,931 cases and 1,398 fatalities in the past seven days. As of now, Maharashtra has 83,295 cases, with 108,082 patients recovering, translating to a recovery rate of 54.02%

Meanwhile, Mumbai recorded 1,163 new cases, pushing its toll to 83,237. The city’s death toll rose to 4,830 with the addition of 68 casualties.

Of the 295 deaths reported across the state on Saturday, 124 were from the past two days and included 87 deaths in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and 12 in the Pune Metropolitan region (PMR). Among the remaining 171 deaths, 165 are from MMR, excluding Mumbai and including Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli, among other districts, and were reported from April to June.

Also read| Maharashtra’s ‘alarming’ surge in Covid-19 cases due to relaxations, migration: Experts

Amit Deshmukh, medical education minister, said against the backdrop of the grim milestone crossed on Saturday, the state health infrastructure is ready to tackle the rising number of cases.

“With antigen, antibody tests taken to every district and plasma banks being set up across the state, the virus spread is expected to be contained in the next month. We have augmented health infrastructure across the state and are ready to take on the spread. The rise in cases is because of the opening up of activities and compromised social-distancing norms. There is a rise in number in few districts, besides MMR, but we are taking care to reduce the spread. We have set up a taskforce in every district and advice by expert doctors, including epidemiologists and virologists, are being made available to rural patients with comorbidities. Early referral will help us keep mortalities in check. This, along with the ramped up health infrastructure will help us in containing the spread too.”

Deshmukh said that July and August are crucial and the government expects the decline in cases to begin in a month. “We have already witnessed a decline in cases in Mumbai. Similar will be the trend in other parts and there will be flattening in the next two months,” he said.

Dr Om Shrivastava, infectious diseases specialist and member of the 11-member taskforce appointed by the state government for the clinical management of critically ill patients, said, “The rise in number of cases is the result of aggressive testing by authorities. Same is the reason for the positivity rate. Our case fatality rate (CFR) is one of the lowest, compared to other countries. It is very difficult to say about the future trend or the rise in cases because of monsoon-related cases. The virus spread is expected to stabilise in the next few weeks and we should not worry about rising cases as our infrastructure is ready to take up the load.”

Dr Sanjay Pattiwar, public health consultant, said the future pattern of the curve is very difficult to project. “We should not be worried about the rising number if we are ready with health infrastructure. State authorities should go for aggressive testing and tracing, besides sensitising people about following social curbs and personal-community hygiene. We should learn to live with the virus at least for the next few months and it’s the only way out,” he said.

Also read: Section 144 imposed in Mumbai till July 15 amid spike in Covid-19 cases

The state’s CFR stands at 4.33%, against the national rate of 2.88%. Currently 5,96,038 people are home quarantined, while 41,566 are under institutional quarantine.

The state authorities have started concentrating on civic and district areas with rising number of cases. Besides the civic bodies in MMR, authorities in districts like Aurangabad, Solapur, Jalgaon have been going for aggressive tracing and ramping up of health infrastructure. “They have been told to trace at least 10 persons per positive patient as it is the only way to contain the spread. For this, the authorities have been asked to rope in more manpower from various other fields like NGOs, social service wings of colleges, students, volunteers. The districts and civic bodies re-imposing lockdown have been asked to ensure that there will be no more extensions of it. They have been asked to chalk out a strategy to ensure flattening of the curve in the next few weeks,” said a state government officer.

The officer said that local administrations, especially in rural parts, have been asked to increase number of beds with adequate oxygen facilities as per the recent central government guidelines.

Dr Neeta Padalkar, medical officer of health, Aurangabad Municipal Corporation, said the city has managed to restrict the rise in cases. “Our daily average of new cases is around 150, which is much below the projected spike after the relaxations extended. The high rate in the city is due to the high rate of migration, compromised social distancing and non-cooperation of the people with authorities in tracing and treatment. We expect a downward curve by beginning of next month,” she said. Aurangbad city has reported 4,863 cases and 255 fatalities with CFR of 5.24%.

During a meeting with officials from MMR municipal corporations, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray asked them to focus on reducing the mortality rate by early tracing of suspected people. The CM, while praising the officials for the commendable work and citing the praises by the Central teams for the efforts in the state, said that they need to be extra alert during monsoon as cases will go up in next few weeks. “Extra efforts need to be put in to reduce fatalities in the city. The civic body should look at keeping monsoon-related ailments in check,” he said.

Thackeray has also directed BMC officials for better coordination with other government agencies including MMRDA, Railways, MbPT, MSRDC and airport authority to avoid monsoon-related woes. He has asked to form combined teams of various agencies to ensure pothole-free streets in the city.

The district administrations have been asked to form a committee under district collectors to ensure all facilities to the patients taking treatment for the infection. The notification issued by the public health department, in accordance with the latest orders by the Supreme Court, has directed district collectors to pay surprise visits to the hospitals and review the facilities, treatment given to the patients. The committee has also been directed to submit regular report to the chief secretary. The state government has also directed district collectors for CCTV cameras in all hospitals and special arrangements for relatives of patients.

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