WITH Covid-19 cases dipping to a four-month low, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has shut down as many as 18 Covid Care Centres.
“Of the 21 Covid Care Centres, 18 have been shut down. Three will remain open to handle any future rise in positive cases,” said Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar on Saturday.
Since October 1, PCMC has seen a drastic fall in Covid-19 cases. Compared to September, when it saw a single-day spike of 1,300 cases, the twin city has been reporting less than 300 new cases a day this month. On Friday, Pimpri-Chinchwad reported 224 cases, a number similar to its tally in June, when it used to record over 200 new cases, on an average, per day. On Saturday, 190 cases were registered, with the new case count dropping below 200.
The PCMC’s decision also stems from the the heavy expenditure on each Covid Care Centre. Of the 21 care centres, PCMC had to pay Rs 1,450 per bed to contractors for at least four top-tier centres, irrespective of whether the bed was occupied.
“I think we will have to pay over Rs 25 crore for these 18 CCCs. We are in the process of calculating the amount to be paid. It could be between Rs 25 to Rs 30 crore… or more,” said Hardikar.
He said only five care centres were set up by private parties. “We had set up the rest of them. We will keep them ready in case we need them in the future. The privare parties will take a call on their own centres…,” said Hardikar. He also denied reports about faulty RT-PCR kits. “We have not had any faulty kits. There was no such problem with tests in Pimpri-Chinchwad,” he said.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Ajit Pawar said three Covid care centres — the ones in Balewadi, Bhosari Balnagari and Gharkul — will continue to operate.
Meanwhile, the PCMC health department said of the 2,209 active cases till Friday evening, the highest number of cases — 589 — are from ‘B’ divisional office area. The suburbs of Ravet, Kiwale, Vikasnagar, Bijlinagar, Chinchwadenagar and Chinchwad come under the ‘B’ divisional office. The lowest number of cases — 236 – are from ‘H’ divisional office area, comprising the suburbs of Sant Tukaramnagar, Mahatma Phulenagar, Dapodi, Phugewadi, Kasarwadi, New Sangvi and Sangvi.
The total number of cases till Friday evening was 85,114. Of these, 80,752 patients have recovered, said PCMC’s Additional Health chief Dr Pavan Salve. Pimpri-Chinchwad has seen 1,464 Covid-related deaths so far.
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