Source unknown in 4,041 Covid cases in Mumbai’s slums?
Patients not high-risk contacts of cases; BMC says no community transmission, source not identified due to other reasonsUpdated: Jul 01, 2020 00:00 IST
A total of 4,041 Covid-19 cases in Mumbai’s slums are not high-risk contacts of earlier patients , and hence their source of infection is not yet identified, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ‘Chase the Virus’ mission data for June 3 to June 29 on its website revealed.
However, BMC officials have denied the possibility of community transmission (in which people get infected, even if they are not in contact with an infected person) saying the source in the 4,041 cases is unidentified due to different reasons. They attributed the spread to intermingling within population of containment zones in slums, saying the source is linked to earlier positive cases through layers of contacts.
Ashwini Bhide, additional municipal commissioner in BMC, said, “This means, there are some cases which are not from among high-risk contacts which are identified and shifted to Covid Care Centres (CCC1). The ratio is 1:13, on an average. But in slums, there are low-risk contacts too, who are not necessarily shifted outside [from their homes to quarantine centres]. There is some intermingling within population of containment zones for essential supplies. So we cannot say that the source of transmission for new cases is not known. Somewhere, it is linked to the earlier positive cases in layers of contacts.”
BMC’s ‘Chase the Virus’ mission was launched by municipal commissioner IS Chahal on May 26. Among other targets, ward officers were given the task of tracing or ‘chasing’ maximum contacts of Covid-19 patients, moving them to institutional quarantine facilities, and breaking their contact with the community around them. From the earlier target of ‘chasing’ 10 high-risk contacts for every one Covid-19 patient, Chahal increased it to 15-high risk contacts. Currently, on an average, BMC has traced up to 13 high-risk contacts per positive patient across the city.
Many slum pockets with high number of Covid-19 cases such as Dharavi, Govandi, Mankhurd and Kurla noticed a trend that most subsequent cases were among persons already moved to quarantine facilities by BMC as high-risk contacts of positive patients.
In G-North ward, which includes Dharavi along with Dadar and Mahim, BMC has sent 2,631 high-risk contacts to institutional quarantine facilities between June 3 and June 29. The ratio is 1:15. In G-North ward, there are 178 cases who are not high-risk contacts of earlier positive cases.
Similarly, in M-East ward that includes Govandi and Mankhurd, BMC has sent 2,150 high-risk contacts to institutional quarantine facilities between June 3 and June 29, and there are 130 cases who are not high-risk contacts of earlier positive cases. The ratio is 1:16.
In H-East ward in Bandra East, where the ratio is 1:19, 465 high-risk contacts have been sent to institutional quarantine facilities between June 3 and June 29. There are 25 patients who are not high-risk contacts of patients.
The highest instance of Covid-19 patients - 400 - who are not high-risk contacts of earlier cases is in S ward in Bhandup, where the ratio if 1:14. BMC has sent 6,586 high-risk contacts to institutional quarantine facilities.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner incharge of the civic health department, said, “In some cases, BMC is unable to trace the source of infection in any particular patient because maybe the patient is in a hospital, and may or may not be reached by civic staff to record his contact history.”
When asked if the trend shows signs of community transmission, Kakani said, “No. So far, there is an index case for every Covid-19 positive patient in Mumbai. In some cases, there are delays in identifying the connection between this index case and new Covid-19 patient. For example, if a patient is in a hospital and is not able to speak with BMC staff, we may not know who all he has come in contact with.”
Community transmission is supposed to be formally announced by the government and it has not yet been announced.
On Tuesday, Mumbai reported 893 new cases and 93 new deaths. However, 57 of these 93 deaths occurred earlier. The number of cases now stands at 77,658 and deaths stand at 4556. Mumbai’s fatality rate now stands at 5.8% and recovery rate at 56.8%.