Municipal commissioner I S Chahal has instructed that for every Covid-19 patient, BMC’s contact-tracers must identify at least 10 high-risk and low-risk contacts. Chahal’s order came after his visit to M-east ward (Govandi, Mankhurd), a Covid-19 hotspot with dense population, on Sunday. The civic body is under fire for poor contact tracing ratio and for not shifting them into institutional quarantine facilities. Mumbai has over 21,100 Covid-19 cases with the death toll at 750.
The May 17 order states that all ward officers should maintain average quarantine ratio of 1:10 across the city in congested areas, especially slums and chawls, where people only have access to common toilets. The 10 high- and low-risk contacts have to be then transferred to quarantine facilities. Earlier, the central government’s inter-ministerial team, during its visit to the city, had expressed unhappiness over the contact tracing ratio and number of high and low risk contacts put up in institutional facilities.
The city’s average rates for quarantining is about 2.5 to 3 persons for every Covid-19 positive patient. The central team had asked BMC to scale it up to 10, especially in slums, as the spread of infection rate is high in densely populated areas. The first order by Chahal, who recently took over as BMC commissioner, was to get the civic body to scale it up to 1:6. “However, finding that many slum areas are still seeing high infection rates, Chahal has ordered an increase in contact tracing to put about 10 high and low risk contacts in institutional quarantine facilities, “said a senior official from BMC.
The city’s hotspots for Covid-19 include areas such as Govandi, Dharavi, Worli, Andheri, Chembur, Bandra east and Bhandup, which have dense slums and chawls, where about six to seven residents live in small 10 by 10 houses and use public toilets.
According to the BMC, so far 35,263 people are being kept in institutional quarantine facilities.
In Dharavi, about 5,000 people are kept in quarantine in different places. Following the orders, ward officers have started extensive contact tracing to improve the ratio. “We have already started increasing tracing of numbers of high risk and low risk contacts of positive patients. We are trying to trace more and more people with our available manpower,” said Dr Prithiviraj Chouhan, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, M-west ward (Chembur).
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