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Maharashtra Covid: Weekly positivity rate down, lockdown-like restrictions make impact

Most experts with the state Covid-19 task force, however, said it was unlikely that restrictions would be relaxed immediately, and that a decision to relax lockdown would have to be taken according to district.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: May 28, 2021 10:46:00 am
Maharashtra Covid: Weekly positivity rate down, lockdown-like restrictions make impactWhile districts like Satara, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Hingoli are of concern, as positivity rate is higher than the state average, there is some hope as trends also point to a steady decline. (PTI Photo)

Weekly COVID-19 positivity rate in the state has reduced and now stands at 10.46 per cent. Data of the Covid-19 situation in Maharashtra, which was presented at the state cabinet meeting on Thursday, showed that there had been a significant impact due to lockdown-like restrictions.

However, restrictions will be eased in a mindful manner, based on sound public health principles, said Dr Shashank Joshi, expert on the state Covid task force. “We don’t want a yo-yo effect,” he said.

For instance, in the week from May 19 to 25, weekly positivity rate of Maharashtra was 11.06 per cent as against 24.26 per cent in the week from April 28 to May 4. While districts like Satara, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Hingoli are of concern, as positivity rate is higher than the state average, there is some hope as trends also point to a steady decline.

According to a state analysis, weekly Covid positivity rate in Satara was 34.37 per cent in the week from April 28 to May 4, which has come down to 21.93 per cent in the week from May 19 to 25. At Raigad too, positivity rate was 25.01 per cent in the week from April 28 to May 4, which has now declined to 18.69 per cent (May 19 to 25).

State surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate told The Indian Express that this was a significant declining trend. There are at least 22 to 24 districts where weekly positivity rate has dropped. Even in districts with higher positivity rate, there is now a decline.

Among other districts that have a higher weekly positivity rate than the state average are Kolhapur (16.85 per cent), Osmanabad (16.22 per cent), Pune (16.16 per cent), Sangli (15.47 per cent), Beed (13.48 per cent), Amravati (12.8 per cent), Thane (11.91 per cent), Akola (11.74 per cent) and Gadchiroli (10.75 per cent).

Dr Joshi, however, said some districts were of concern. “There are some that have shown improvement, but we still need a test positivity rate of less than 5 per cent. We need to continue the vaccination programme and ensure that there is no crowding. The current variant is a cluster spreading one, we have to double mask and educate and ensure containment in districts,” he said.

He also said the dynamics of each district were different and it will be decided by local and state teams on the kind of restrictions required. “We do not want a springboard effect. A classic example is Amravati, where there were restrictions early on, but once they were eased we saw a springboard effect and more cases. While vaccination will take time, we need to be responsible in terms of behavioural, mitigation and containment strategies,” he added.

Till Wednesday, the state had 3,14,368 active Covid cases, of which 36.5 per cent were hospital admissions. At least 54,680 patients are critical, of which 19,465 are in intensive care units. Of these, 7,023 require ventilator support, according to the state health department data.

Most experts with the state Covid-19 task force, however, said it was unlikely that restrictions would be relaxed immediately, and that a decision to relax lockdown would have to be taken according to district.

Pune continues to have the highest number of active cases across 10 districts in the state. According to data, till May 26, there were 45,655 active cases in Pune, followed by 28,074 in Mumbai, 21,949 in Thane and 19,958 in Satara. There are 16,962 active cases in Kolhapur. Nagpur, Sangli, Solapur, Nashik and Ahmednagar are among the 10 districts with highest active cases.

On the vaccination front, a total of 2.13 crore doses have been administered in the state till May 26. A total of 44.31 lakh beneficiaries have received both jabs.

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