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Sharpest 1-day spike of 322 deaths takes Maha toll past 15K

Maharashtra on Saturday reported 322 Covid-19 deaths, most in a day, to take the toll past 15,000 to 15,316, but also reported its highest single-day spike in recoveries at 10,725. This took the total recoveries to 2,66,883 at a recovery rate of 61.82%, closer to the national rate of 64.54%, as of Friday. The state has 149,214 active cases.

Maharashtra reported 9,601 new infections in the past 24 hours, taking the state tally to 431,719, including 1,047 new cases in Mumbai. Mumbai’s caseload touched 115,331 and toll reached 6,398 with 45 more deaths.

Pune topped the chart in terms of daily cases and deaths with the addition of 2,699 cases (461 in rural Pune, 1,441 in Pune city and 797 in Pimpri-Chinchwad) reported on Saturday. The district tally stood at 91,930, including 60,000 in Pune city. The district also saw 76 deaths (42 in city, 21 in rural Pune and 13 in Pimpri-Chinchwad), taking the toll to 1,175. Aurangabad and Jalgaon districts reported 17 and 20 deaths, while Raigad rural reported 26. Thane district and Vasai-Virar saw 19 and 12 fatalities.

64,845 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, translating into a test positivity rate of 14.80%. State’s cumulative positivity rate was 19.66%. 908,099 people are in home quarantine and 38,947 are institutionally quarantined.

In the month of July, the state reported 247,357 cases, which accounted for 58.6% of the case tally in the state. While Mumbai cases came down drastically in July, Pune and other districts like Nashik, Aurangabad, Jalgaon and Solapur registered a rise in July.

Of the total cases in the state in July, 14.81% or 36,626 cases were in Mumbai, 46.24% (114,383) in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), 31.43% (77,757) were in MMR, excluding Mumbai and 27.05% (66,904) in Pune.

In June, MMR accounted for 69.09% (74,003 cases) of the total number of state cases (107,106) in the month. MMR, excluding Mumbai, accounted for 33.64% (36,031) of the state’s share. Mumbai’s share was 35.45% (37,972 cases), while Pune’s case share in June was 13.45%. Districts like Nashik, Aurangabad, Jalgaon and Solapur saw more cases in July than in June.

While Mumbai and other cities in MMR have shown a fall in cases, Pune district and other parts of the state have reported a rise in cases in the last few weeks. Officials attribute the rise owing to the weak health infrastructure and lack in tracking-tracing the contacts. “Pune city and district administration initially failed to ramp up the facilities to cope with the spike after unlocking measures. It has now been done by setting up jumbo hospitals and acquisition of the private hospitals. Nagpur has adequate number of beds, but has no management of beds and proper tracking of the contacts. Similar are the cases with other districts where the number is rising. The cities in MMR could manage the addition of beds speedily, resulting in the fall in numbers,” a state government official said.

State surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate said, “In Pune, the growth is more in rural parts than the city because of the movement of people from outskirts of the Pune city. We have been focusing in Pune and other districts like Jalgaon, Aurangabad with the high growth rate by strengthening the infrastructure. We expect the infection curve to stabilise by August end even in these areas.”

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said that the number of cases has increased after the relaxations from the lockdown curbs and the district administrations will have to be on toes to contain the spread. “The spread can be arrested with more tests and aggressive tracking of the contact under ‘Chase the Virus’ mantra, which worked in Dharavi and Worli. It will help break the chain of the virus. The patients with comorbidities should be minutely monitored to keep the fatality rate in check,” he said. Thackeray inaugurated the ICU ward at a district hospital in Ahmednagar.

Health minister Rajesh Tope said that the state government has ramped up its health infrastructure over the past few months. He said that the number of laboratories for coronavirus tests has touched 211 and more than 21 lakh tests have been conducted in the state so far.

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