DISTRICTS NEAR Mumbai, like Raigad, Palghar, and Ratnagiri, are showing a higher cumulative Covid-19 positivity rate as compared to the rest of Maharashtra. Inter-district movement for work to Mumbai, officials said, was a major factor in higher viral transmission in these districts.
In Palghar, at least 200-250 people of the 750-900 tested daily are found positive for the virus. The district’s overall positivity rate since March is 28 per cent.
“We are noticing local community transmission here,” Dr Kanchan Wanere, a Palghar-based civil surgeon, said. Areas like Boisar, Dahanu, Palghar rural and Wada are recording a spike in cases, while Palghar’s MIDC area, too, is recording new cases daily, he said. The random antigen tests conducted in the industrial sector by Palghar district officials, Wanere said, had helped to detect several positive cases.
Pointing out that the district’s local population travels to Vasai-Virar and Mumbai for work, Wanere added the infection is suspected to have been passed on from there in the local community here ever since travel restrictions were lifted.
In Raigad, south of Mumbai, the overall positivity rate is at 31 per cent. The district is conducting 2,400-2,500 tests every day. Collector Nidhi Choudhari said the day-wise positivity rate is declining but it still remains higher than the state’s average at 20.4 per cent.
“It is possible the high positivity rate is because we are taking a targeted approach and only testing symptomatic and possible super-spreaders in the society,” Chaudhari said.
The district saw new cases in two waves after the Nisarga cyclone when people returned to see the condition of their homes and during the Ganesh festival. While the district is facing a shortage of specialist doctors, Chaudhari said, several patients also seek private hospitals in Mumbai for treatment rather than those in Raigad. Until Wednesday, only 20 ventilators were used for Covid-19 patients in the district.
In Ratnagiri, civil surgeon Dr Ashok Bolde said the positivity rate had halved in a month and reached 20.1 per cent but the district is doing very few tests – about 300 per day. Local corporator Suhail Mukadam said from June to August the district was recording more than 40 per cent positivity rate. With fewer tests, it is possible the district is missing out on asymptomatic spreaders and may see a spike again, he said.
Apart from Western Maharashtra, Nashik has a high positivity rate at 27 per cent, Ahmednagar 27 per cent and Osmanabad 22.7 per cent.
District officials are now campaigning for the ‘My family, My responsibility’ programme to test symptomatic people by undertaking house-to-house surveys.
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