March 14, 2021 10:32:43 pm
In a meeting on Sunday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) directed all wards to start counselling Covid-19 cases living in smaller flats and larger families to opt for institutional quarantine rather than home isolation. Mumbai recorded 1,963 new cases on Sunday, a 129 per cent rise from daily cases until a fortnight ago. The civic body has begun scaling up its Covid care centres (CCC) to accommodate quarantining and isolating rising cases.
Institutional quarantine for slum dwellers, who share common bathrooms, is compulsory. But for people in residential societies with a separate rooms and bathrooms, home isolation is permissible. Civic officials said they are getting complaints from societies about regular violation of quarantine norms by residents. Contact tracing has shown entire families of Covid-19 cases testing positive. On Sunday, wards were directed to allow home isolation only if there is a separate room and the person is adhering to all norms.
“We will begin counselling people living in small flats to opt for institutional quarantine to protect their family members. As people are taking quarantine norms lightly, we are asking society residents to send us video clips or photos of persons violating quarantine or isolation rules. In such cases, they will be forced to move to institutional quarantine,” said Dr Mahendra Khandare, medical officer in N-Ward.
Mumbai saw 12,535 active Covid cases on Sunday, and a total of seven deaths were reported, taking the overall toll to 11,535. Currently, 10-15 per cent of positive cases are getting hospitalised. With cases largely limited to residential societies, 80 per cent of the cases remain under home isolation. Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said they have started activating CCCs to admit more cases. “We are prepared to handle over 3,000 new cases daily. By the current trend, we will soon reach that point,” he said. Mumbai has 46,712 beds in CCC1, meant for quarantining high-risk cases. Of these, 29,281 beds are in the reserve category. “We can activate reserve beds at 7-8 days’ notice,” Kakani said. A total of 5,078 other beds are in the buffer category which can start functioning at two days’ notice.
In CCC2, for isolating coronavirus positive cases, there are 23,806 beds. Of these, 18,344 beds are in reserve and 4,875 are in buffer category. Currently, only 587 beds are active.
Civic officials said another reason to push for institutional quarantine is to monitor Covid patients daily. Those with mild symptoms, but at the risk of severity are reaching hospital late.
“The number of delayed admissions have increased. People with mild symptoms prefer home isolation, but they turn critical by the sixth or seventh day,” said Dr Balkrishna Adsul, Dean in Seven Hills, adding that they have to use more oxygen and aggressive treatment to stabilise these patients.
“Earlier, home isolation was advised as people from middle and high-income groups complained about facilities in institutional quarantine. In last several months several centres have upped their care and facilities,” he added.
Dr Avinash Supe, in-charge of state level death audit committee, said death rates can reduce if people turn up at the hospital earlier. In a recent case, a teenage girl died in Sion hospital after reaching hospital 15-16 days after the onset of fever.
For people in home isolation, the civic body has instructed health workers to physically visit them for oxygen saturation measurements and to ensure quarantine norms are followed by other family members.
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