With highest seven-day Covid positivity rate, Ahmednagar is cause for concern for Maharashtra

Ahmednagar, which has 5.3% seven-day Covid positivity rate — the highest in Maharashtra, is now the biggest concern for the state public health department. Officials attributed it to violation of Covid-appropriate behaviour after restriction relaxations were announced in the second week of August, as well as robust testing.
Officials attributed the high Covid positivity rate to violation of Covid-appropriate behaviour after restriction relaxations were announced in the second week of August, as well as robust testing. (BHUSHAN KOYANDE/ HT PHOTO)
Officials attributed the high Covid positivity rate to violation of Covid-appropriate behaviour after restriction relaxations were announced in the second week of August, as well as robust testing. (BHUSHAN KOYANDE/ HT PHOTO)
Updated on Sep 23, 2021 12:43 AM IST
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By Rupsa Chakraborty, Mumbai

Ahmednagar, which has 5.3% seven-day Covid positivity rate — the highest in Maharashtra, is now the biggest concern for the state public health department. Officials attributed it to violation of Covid-appropriate behaviour after restriction relaxations were announced in the second week of August, as well as robust testing.

In the first week of September, the district had a seven-day positivity rate of 4.8%, which has now increased by 0.50%, as per the latest report of the public health department. Though officials do not have an exact answer for the high positivity rate in the district, they have ramped up testing along with genome sequencing — an exercise to study the changes in the structure of a virus over time.

“Several reasons can be contributing factors, such as thick tail which means the virus keeps circulating in the area, infecting the susceptible population. Trend shows the infection rate is higher in rural parts of the state than in cities,” said Dr Subhash Salunkhe, technical advisor to the state on Covid-19.

Health officers claimed the district is conducting around 10,000-12,000 tests daily, which is adding to positivity rate. In the past seven days, the district has conducted 96,824 tests — the third highest number of testing done in the state after Mumbai and Pune.

Violation of Covid safety norms has been a major contributor in the spread of Covid-19, said district collector Rajendra Bhosale. “People have been attending family functions without wearing masks. This is leading to circulation of the virus in the crowd. Recently, we have raided a few such functions and police complaints have been registered against the violators,” said Bhosale.

Neighbouring districts like Beed and Nashik have also been asked to keep an eye on new Covid-19 patients.

Meanwhile, the cumulative seven-day positivity rate of Maharashtra has remained 2.5% for the past two weeks. However, medical experts are anticipating a surge in cases in the next two weeks due to the violation of Covid-appropriate behaviour during Ganesh Chaturthi.

“Amid the festival season, Mumbai has already witnessed a slight 0.10% rise in seven-day positivity rate compared to the previous week. The virus has an inoculation period of 14 days, so, we have to wait and watch,” said a senior health officer.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021