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As Maharashtra registers its highest-ever COVID spike, Pune becomes state's pandemic hub

According to the Maharashtra government’s health department data, 36,39,855 have tested positive in the state till date. Of this, 6,89,274 are from Pune.

Published: 17th April 2021 02:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th April 2021 09:31 AM   |  A+A-

A health worker collects samples for COVID-19 testing, amid surge in coronavirus cases, in Amravati, Maharashtra, Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

MUMBAI:  The cultural capital of Maharashtra has become the epicentre of Covid-19 in the state. Of the 6.20 lakh active cases in Maharashtra, 1.12 lakh are reported from Pune alone.

According to the Maharashtra government’s health department data, 36,39,855 have tested positive in the state till date. Of this, 6,89,274 are from Pune. Of them, 5,67,602 patients have recovered, while 8,695 died.

Pune district includes Pune city, Pimpri Chinchwad and rural areas like the automobile and industrial belts of Talegaon, Chakan and Pradhikaran. After Pune, Mumbai is second highest with 84,743 active positive cases. This figure is 83,193 in Thane, 69,365 in Nagpur and 47,117 in Nasik.

According to the Pune Municipal Corporation, there are 54,351 active positive cases in Pune city, while daily positive rate is around 24.61 per cent. The mortality rate is 1.7 per cent. Of the 5,540 Covid-19 beds in various Pune hospitals, 5,481 are occupied.

Of the 1,843 beds with oxygen, 1,630 are occupied. Occupancy is almost 100 per cent for beds with ventilators (606 of 610) and ICUs (557 of 562). In Pune, most of the cases are reported from upmarket areas like Kothrud, Aundh, Hadapsar, Shivaji Nagar and Warje. The doubling rate is 43.91 days.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao has requested Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to spare 20,000 vials of Remdesivir from its stock of two lakh.

According to Rao, they are not able to procure the drug due to a shortage in the market. He has written to the Municipal Commissioner about the increasing demand.

“Recently, I came to know that BMC has successfully placed an order for Remdesivir with MYLAN. We contacted the same company from which the BMC bought 2 lakh vials at Rs 1,568 each, but they expressed inability, citing lack of stock,” wrote Rao.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar has also said that in the second wave, more positive cases are reported from Pune. He asked people to cooperate with the government to break the virus chain.

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, also the guardian minister of Pune, called a series of meetings and urged people to follow protocol.

Talking to reporters after chairing a review meeting on the COVID-19 situation here, he said the issue of beds, oxygen, Remdesivir injections, a key medicine in the treatment of the infection, were discussed.

"We are trying our best to serve the people. No government or leader would think of losing any of its citizens. However, no one assures error-free support," the deputy CM said when asked whether his government could promise that no one would fall prey to a shortage of beds or medicines.

He said not every patient required Remdesivir but private hospitals were asking relatives of patients to get vials of this medicine, which is not correct.

Speaking about the Pandharpur-Mangalvedha, Assembly by-poll, Pawar said several states were witnessing polls amid the outbreak.

“After the Maharashtra government’s decision to relax restrictions after the first wave, people in Pune district started moving around in large numbers because of industrial activities. Many positive cases are reported in upmarket areas, which shows that people are careless and causal. The government is working on a war footing,” said a senior health officer from Pune.

Meanwhile, The Nagpur district administration on Friday said it would supply 61.5 metric tonnes of oxygen to 11 government and private COVID facilities and also make available 8,622 jumbo cylinders for 170 private hospitals.

The announcement was made by Nagpur collector Ravindra Thakre after chairing a meeting with oxygen manufacturers, distributors and representatives of hospitals.

The surge in cases across the state has put severe pressure on the medical oxygen distribution network, with complaints of its shortage coming in from various areas.

The Thane Municipal Corporation too will set up two oxygen generation plants here by the end of April amid a rise in coronavirus cases, an official said on Friday.

The two plants will be housed in Global Hospital and the Parking Plaza COVID care centre and a total of 20 tonnes of oxygen per day will be generated, he said.

"Each plant will have a capacity to generate 175 cylinders of oxygen for 24 hours. An Aurangabad-based company will install the two plants. Currently the oxygen requirement at Global Hospital and Parking Plaza COVID care centre was 20 tonnes and 13 tonnes respectively," he informed.

The administration in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district has acquired the oxygen plant of a steel factory here, an official said on Friday.

Collector Sunil Chavan said a team of officials has been appointed to ensure smooth supply of the life-saving gas from the plant, belonging to R L Steel in Chitegaon of Paithan.

"The plant has the capacity to produce nearly 500 oxygen cylinders per day. This facility will be used if there is a rise demand for oxygen and the existing suppliers cannot fulfill it," an official from the monitoring team told PTI.

The demand for oxygen in the district was 59 metric tonnes on Thursday, and there are 85 COVID-19 facilities in the district currently treating infected patients, a senior official from the food and drug department said.

It has appointed 12 teams to take action against people roaming around in public without any valid reason despite the COVID-19 curbs, an official said on Friday.

As a deterrent, the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will make violators undergo COVID-19 tests, municipal commissioner Astik Kumar said in a tweet.

The AMC has formed 12 teams, which will keep moving in the city with the police, and anyone found roaming in public places without a valid reason will be forced to undergo COVID-19 tests, Pandey tweeted.

The teams will work in two shifts and (9 am to 9 pm and 5 pm to 1 am) under the jurisdiction of various police stations, he said.

As per official data, at least 1,329 fresh cases of coronavirus and 23 casualties were reported in Aurangabad district on Thursday.

With this, the tally of infections rose to 1,04,583 and the toll reached 2,075.

There are currently 15,796 active cases in the district, an official said.

The Maharashtra State COVID task force chairperson Dr Sanjay Oak also has suggested that non-essential surgeries be postponed to save medical oxygen.

He said the decision on this, however, would have to be taken at a local level as factors such as the patient's condition and medical urgency are paramount.

Amid a spike in cases, there is a reported shortage of medical oxygen in some parts of the state.

The state on Friday reported 63,729 fresh coronavirus cases, the highest single-day count so far, taking the tally past the 37-lakh mark, while 398 more patients succumbed to the infection, said a health department official.

With 63,729 COVID new cases, the tally increased to 37,03,584, while 398 fatalities pushed the toll to 59,551, he said.

The state's earlier highest one-day case count was 63,294, recorded on April 11, followed by 61,695 on April 15.

Also, 45,335 patients were discharged during the day, raising the number of recovered cases to 30,04,391, he said.

Maharashtra's number of active cases has increased to 6,38,034, the official said.

Mumbai recorded 8,803 new cases and 53 fatalities, taking the tally to 5,62,207 and the toll to 12,250.

With 2,72,226 new tests, the number of samples tested so far in Maharashtra has gone up to 2,33,08,878, the official said.

Currently, 35,14,181 people are in-home quarantine, while 25,168 people are in institutional quarantine in the state, the health department said.

The state plans to bring in modern COVID-19 detection technology to increase the number of tests and minimize the waiting period for reports, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Friday.

Such technology would be used in the coronavirus hotspots in Maharashtra, Tope said.

"Companies like Thermo Fisher and Abbott have come up with modern technology machines which can perform as many as 10,000 tests per day. We are also setting up mobile testing vans to reach people who are unable to come out of their homes," he said.

The minister added that 70 per cents of tests being conducted in Maharashtra were as per the RT-PCR method and the rest being antigen ones, which is the standard set by ICMR.

The state, in the last few days, was conducting 2.30 lakh tests every day but reports were coming in after three to four days, the minister said, adding that modern technology would be used to minimize the waiting period.

Maharashtra's COVID-19 recovery rate stood at 81.12 per cent, while the fatality rate was 1.61 per cent, the department said.

The Mumbai division, including Mumbai city and its satellite towns, recorded 17,635 cases and 73 deaths, taking the count of cases to 11,68,411 and the fatalities to 21,489, it said.

The Nashik division reported 9,286 cases, including 2,459 in Nashik city, while 2,159 infections were recorded in Ahmednagar district.

Out of 73 fresh deaths in the division, 25 were from Ahmednagar district and 20 in Nashik district, among others, the official said.

The Pune division saw 13,891 fresh infections, including 5,437 in Pune city.

Out of 65 deaths in the division, Pune city and Satara reported 36 and 12, respectively, the official said.

The Kolhapur division added 2,106 new cases, the Aurangabad division 3,095, the Latur division 4,893 and the Akola division 2,264, he said.

The Nagpur division registered 10,559 cases, including 4,190 in Nagpur city, while Bhandara district recorded 1,384 fresh infections.

High deaths were reported from some of the districts and cities like Nanded district (20), Nagpur city (19), Latur district (17), Osmanabad district (12), Nanded city (11) and Buldhana (12) .

Maharashtra's coronavirus figures as follows: Total cases 37,03,584, new cases 63,729, deaths 59,551, recoveries 30,04,391, active cases 6,38,034, people tested so far 2,33,08,878.

(With PTI Inputs)



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