Updated: January 9, 2022 10:14:40 am
While Covid-19 cases are rising in Pune district once again, the severity of infections and the rate of hospitalisation were lower compared to previous waves of the infection, said Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao on Saturday.
Rao was speaking after meeting representatives of local industries in Pune. The meeting of the Pune Platform for Covid-19 Response (PPCR), organised by Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, was held to review the preparedness of Pune district to deal with the spread of Omicron variant.
Rao said while Covid-19 cases were increasing exponentially across Maharashtra, Konkan Division and Pune Division had higher numbers within the state. In Pune Division, 22% of the cases were from Pune district, and the state government was constantly monitoring the situation.
“We have been having high-level meetings regularly to assess the situation and plan for a set of measures to deal with the surge in cases. Fortunately, we are much better prepared to deal with the third wave due to the set treatment protocols, and higher number of doctors and medical staff. The confidence of family members and caregivers has also been at higher levels due to past experience and greater awareness. The infrastructure facilities have also seen tremendous increase since the first and second waves. Pune, courtesy largely to the efforts of PPCR and private industries, can boast of having the highest number of beds per million population in the country,” Rao said.
He, however, added that the exponential rise in case numbers was a cause of worry. “But we are bracing for higher numbers with full precautions,” said Rao.
While the number of cases was rising, the rate of hospitalisation was low and majority of hospitalisations were being done on a precautionary basis, he said. “There are not many critical cases in the hospitals as of now,” Rao said.
The Maharashtra government has set up a Centralised Covid Care Bed Management System. Rao said jumbo Covid Care Centres and isolation facilities were also being set up in every district.
He, however, said the state government was moving very cautiously about implementing restrictions on economic activities. As of now, there are no new restrictions in place in Pune Division. The situation will be reviewed next week and a decision will be taken after consulting all the stakeholders, so as to avoid any knee-jerk reaction which would adversely affect economic activities.
“With the support of PPCR, we have done quite well during the first and second waves of Covid,” said Rao. He expressed hope that the situation would be under control within the next six to eight weeks.
Sudhir Mehta, president of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, who is also the lead and coordinator of Pune Platform for Covid-19 Response, highlighted the need of preparedness to deal with the possible surge in number of cases due to the rapid spread of Omicron variant. He invited suggestions from government officials and doctors to help tide over the situation for the next few weeks.
Dr Dhananjay Kelkar, medical director of Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, pointed out that the number of breakthrough infections has increased. Of the 78 Covid-19 patients admitted in the hospital, 68 were fully vaccinated. He stressed on the need to open isolation centres.
Dr Purvez Grant, managing trustee and chief cardiologist of Ruby Hall, suggested that Novovax, the latest vaccine approved in India, be given to all those who have received two doses of Covishield. He also said that the cases of patients admitted to Ruby Hall hospitals in Hinjawadi and Pune were so mild that none had required ventilators so far.
He also warned that the number of Omicron cases may reach 10 lakh by the end of January.
According to experts, in the coming days, the total number of cases due to Omicron could be around 75% of the total infections and in the next two to three weeks, Omicron will replace Delta variant and its sub-lineages.
PMC Commissioner Vikram Kumar also mentioned that in the third wave, till now, “we have seen very low levels of hospitalisation. Only 2% of patients are in ICU or on oxygen as of today.”
However, the substantial increase in the number of cases may entail postponing some elective surgeries at the hospitals treating Covid-19 patients over the next few weeks. Medical students may need to be deployed in hospitals to treat coronavirus cases again, said experts.
State reports 133 new Omicron cases, 129 from Pune
Pune district reported 4,348 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, according to the Health Department of Pune Zilla Parishad. As many as 865 patients recovered successfully and were discharged while two deaths were reported from Pune Municipal Corporation.
Maharashtra also reported 133 new Omicron cases on the day, of which 129 patients are from Pune. Pune Municipal Corporation reported 118 cases of the new variant, followed by Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (8), Pune Rural (3), Vasai Virar (2) and one each from Mumbai and Ahmednagar. The state has so far reported 1,009 Omicron cases, of which 439 patients have been successfully discharged following negative RT-PCR tests.
In terms of area-wise distribution of 4,348 Covid-19 cases in Pune, PMC reported 2,471 cases, followed by PCMC (1,073), Pune Rural (578), Councils (NP) (151) and Cantonment (75). The active caseload in the district rose by 22.6 per cent, crossing the 18,000 mark on the day. Currently, it stands at 18,857, out of which PMC has the highest number of cases at 11,550 (61.3 per cent), followed by PCMC at 4,165 (22.1 per cent), Pune Rural at 2,271 (12 per cent), Councils (NP) at 554 (2.9 percent) and Cantonments at 317 (1.7 percent).
The number of samples tested continue to rise with 34,524 tests being conducted in the district.
So far, Pune has seen 11,83,676 Covid-19 cases, of which 11,45,560 patients have successfully recovered while 19,266 patients have died.
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