Maharashtra sees record one-day spike of 16,867 Covid-19 casesUpdated: Aug 30, 2020, 02:58 IST
Saturday saw a record 16,867 Covid-19 cases in the state, a massive jump from the previous highest in a day (14,888) , even as the government considers more relaxations from the first week of September. The case tally rose to 764,281 as the state reported 328 more fatalities, taking the toll to 24,103.
Pune district reported 3,062 cases (Pune city – 1972, Pimpri-Chinchwad – 1,132 and rural Pune — 958), followed by other key contributors such as Nashik (1,162), Nagpur (1,401), Jalgaon (879). Mumbai reported 1,432 cases, taking its tally to 1,43,389.
In response to the notification issued by the Central government on Saturday, the state, too, is expected to take steps to extend relaxations from the ongoing lockdown. The state government is mulling to increase staff in government and private offices to 30 to 50%, allow interdistrict travel and other activities, including gymnasiums, to be operational from the first week of September. Sanjay Kumar, chief secretary, said the state notification will be issued in a day or two. “We will take the central notification into account, while issuing our own by Monday or so. The decision about relaxations will be taken after due deliberation,” he said.
Among 1,85,131 active patients in the state, the highest (49,365) are in Pune, 20,264 in Thane and 19,,971 in Mumbai. With 11,541 recoveries on Saturday, the number of recoveries reached 554,711. The state recovery rate stood at 72.58%.
Of the 328 fatalities reported in past 24 hours, 255 were from past 48 hours, 37 were reported in the past week and the remaining 36 were from the period before it, the state health department has stated. The state’s case fatality rate (CFR) stood at 3.15%, against the national rate of 1.82%. Maharashtra conducted 77,678 tests and reported 16,867 cases at a positivity rate of 21.71%. State has 13,12,059 people under home quarantine and 35,524 are institutionally quarantined.
Authorities are wary about further spike in cases over the next few weeks amid the relaxations and the free movement of people due to the festivals. The state government is facing pressure from various fronts for relaxations from lockdown curbs and opening up religious places, gymnasiums, inter-district transport etc.
“In the wake of more relaxations rolled out from the first week of September, we expect this leading to the rise in numbers in coming weeks. Though we have been claiming to reach the plateau by mid-September, the number of rural areas is still rising and it may make it difficult to expect the infection to stabilise by then. This has been the reason we have been planning to go for the aggressive surveillance and tracking of high and low-risk contacts under our ‘chase the virus’ programme in September. Our entire focus would be on reducing the fatalities even if the number of infections kept rising,” said an official from the health department.
Dr Sanjay Pattiwar, public health consultant, said that though reducing the number of infections was not possible immediately, the government should focus on awareness among the people. “Now you cannot continue with the lockdown, nor you expect the number to come down immediately. By using alternative manpower to replace the existing workforce, which is under stress, the government should aggressively go for surveillance so that suspected patients are traced to the early stage. People should be educated about the guidelines and self-hygiene so that the spread is contained at maximum level and fatalities are controlled,” he said.
“Though the number of tests has been increased, most of them are rapid antigen tests, which do not give cent percent report on infections. The patients with the negative report of the antigen test ought to go again for the Rt-PCR, though positive reports of antigen tests are confirmed positive cases,” said an official from the state government.
The official said penetration in rural areas is cause for concern for them as health infrastructures in these areas is poor.