Maha sees worst 24-hour toll of 32; tally now 9,915Updated: Apr 30, 2020 00:35 IST
The state on Wednesday recorded 597 new Covid-19 cases, taking the tally to 9,915, even as the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) projected that cases in Maharashtra’s five districts —Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban, Pune, Palghar and Thane — could collectively cross 37,000 by May 15.
Of the new infections, Mumbai recorded 475 of them, taking its tally to 6,644. The state recorded its highest single-day toll with 32 deaths, including 26 in Mumbai, taking the total fatalities to 432. The state also recorded its highest number of recoveries in a day with 205 discharged on Wednesday, the health department said.
The rising number of cases would strain the healthcare infrastructure, including ventilators, beds with oxygen, and ICU beds in the state. The Centre has also projected that Mumbai could fall short of isolation beds with oxygen supply, while Pune and Mumbai could fall short of ventilators by May 11.
Mumbai, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) that includes Palghar and Thane districts, and Pune have the maximum number of cases in Maharashtra. Thane and Palghar districts have 757 and 294 cases respectively.
Pune district, meanwhile, has recorded 1,192 coronavirus cases.
According to the projection of the ministry, Covid-19 cases in Mumbai (city and suburban districts) will reach 28,859 by May 15, while Pune, Thane and Palghar will touch 3,949, 4,181 and 295, respectively.
The doubling rate for Mumbai’s projection, taken as the input value for the mathematical model, was 7.7 days. While for Pune, it was 9.7 days, for Thane it was 7.4 days and for Palghar, it was 20 days.
Mumbai, which has the highest number of Covid-19 patients, could fall short of isolation beds with oxygen supply by May 11, the projection said. With the spike in cases, Mumbai would be short of 421 ventilators and Pune will be short of 40 ventilators by May 11. Besides, Mumbai will be short of 20,462 isolation beds with oxygen.
The state health department, however, dismissed the projection and said that multiple mathematical models have given various projections and said that it is basing its plans on a “realistic” assessment.
State health minister Rajesh Tope said that the state may plan to shift asymptomatic patients in Mumbai into home quarantine as per the revised guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). “It is being said that beds aren’t available in Mumbai; there have been such complaints. As per the new guidelines of the ICMR, asymptomatic patients can be kept in home quarantine. In Mumbai, 83% of patients are asymptomatic; it may be possible to shift some of them who are not that severe into home quarantine. That way, beds would be made available.
He added that the doubling rate in Mumbai has improved from seven days to 10 days now. “The doubling rate in Mumbai has gone to 10 days, which is better than India’s doubling rate that stands at 9 days now. The mortality rate has also reduced. Everybody is focused on Mumbai,” he said.
Tope said that institutional quarantine is being ramped up in Mumbai. He assured that the state health department and the civic body is prepared for any level of spike. “We have taken the decision to use big grounds to set up beds for institutional quarantine. Oxygen line will be kept beside the beds. No matter how big the spike in Mumbai, we are preparing accordingly…As we say, hope for the best and prepare the worst,” he said.
“There are many projection models and no model is perfect. We are making sufficient arrangements based on our analytical assessment. We have adequate infrastructure available with us in various districts to deal with the cases. We are planning on a realistic level. We are seeing the growth rate of the cases in Mumbai and Pune and planning in accordance,” said Anup Kumar Yadav, commissioner (family welfare) and director, National Health Mission, Maharashtra.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday said stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students will be allowed to move with conditions during lockdown. The Maharashtra government is preparing guidelines to transport the stranded migrants and other people in the state.
Nodal authorities will be appointed to register the stranded persons. Since the transfer of people will be done by road, the state transport department has kept around 10,000 ST buses ready for the transfer, an official said. Around 20 to 22 people can be seated in one bus, keeping social distancing norms in mind. Around 1.5 lakh people can be transported through the ST buses. The state is also in talks with private bus operators to provide buses.
Meanwhile, Tope took stock of the measures taken in Malegaon in Nashik district as the cases in the area have soared in the past few days, making it another hotspot in the state. According to Tope, the 171 Covid-19 patients in Malegaon are asymptomatic and none of them are critical. “The situation is Malegaon is in control. The spread is in a cluster. We have appointed 100 people, including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff for the city. The close contacts will be given hydroxychloroquine as per the guidelines of the ICMR,” Tope said. The state home department deployed the State Reserve Police Force in Satranjipur of Nagpur city, which alone has recorded 84 Covid-19 cases.
Maharashtra so far has tested 1,37,159 samples, of which 1,26,376 were negative.