FROM 138 samples tested in March to 3.45 lakh as on July 23, Pune district will soon cross four lakh Covid-19 tests. In the last one week, 11,000 to 15, 000 samples were tested daily, at least 4,000 more than Mumbai and Thane.
According to reports, Mumbai is testing 6,000 to 7,000 samples daily, while Thane is now stagnant at 5,000 to 6,000 samples. With more than 10,000 tests conducted daily, Pune district has come in for some praise from state Medical Education Secretary Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, who told The Indian Express that Pune was recording the highest number of tests at present. “This is a good development but more testing needs to be done,” he said.
Saurabh Rao, officer on special duty at the divisional commissioner’s office, said they were conducting more determined testing, especially during the lockdown period, so that high-risk contacts could be actively traced and isolated.
Rao added that in the last four weeks from June 25 to July 21, over one lakh samples were tested in PMC areas, and a high positivity rate of 25 to 27 per cent was found.
For instance, between July 16 and 21, at least 37,000 samples were tested, out of which more than 10,000 were positive reflecting 27 per cent positivity rate. From July 9 to 15, close to 32,000 samples were tested, out of which more than 6,300 were positive. From July 2 to 9, approximately 25,000 samples were tested, out of which more than 6,000 were positive reflecting 24 per cent positivity rate. From June 25 to July 1, 22,800 samples were tested, out of which 19.5 per cent were positive.
The death rate during the week from June 25 to July 1 was 2.6 per cent, which came down to 1.4 per cent in the last week from July 16 to 21.
In Pune, at least 138 samples were tested in March and the figure reached 970 by March 31. By April 30, as many as 19,496 tests were conducted in Pune (inlcuding PMC, PCMC, Pune rural and cantonments). By May 31, 76,528 tests were conducted, 1.7 lakh by June 30, and total of 3.45 lakh tests as on July 23.
While 60 per cent tests are done via standard RT-PCR (real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction), the remaining are via rapid antigen detection tests and other molecular tests.
District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said the main aim of the 10-day lockdown was to conduct more determined testing and find maximum cases, and also actively trace high-risk contacts and test them.
He added that the plan was to trace at least eight high-risk contacts, along with ramping up infrastructure in terms of more intensive care unit and oxygen beds.
Till Thursday morning, the state recorded 3.37 lakh cases and 12,556 deaths. The state has a mortality rate of 3.72 per cent. State health officials said Pune was now becoming a hotspot and apart from maximum testing, according to experts, the trend of surge in cases was being recorded as the outbreak followed a specific pattern of initially infecting urban areas, then peri-urban zones, and later rural areas.
“A significant number of people have been travelling from Mumbai and the first case was detected in Pune,” said health officials, pointing out that the spread of the infection was akin to following a rail route.
“Places that people from Mumbai visited are in accordance to a rail route –Thane, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik, Jalgaon, Dhule, Akola, and Nagpur, and likewise, we are seeing rising number of cases in these districts,” they said, adding that there was a need to increase contact tracing in Pune.
Across the state, the jump in tests was from April 23 and, to date, the state has around 131 laboratories with a capacity of conducting approximately 40,000 to 45,000 tests daily. According to data, on July 22, close to 48,868 tests were conducted, out of which 33,406 were RT-PCR tests and 14,707 rapid antigen detection tests. TrueNat, a diagnostic machine used for detecting tuberculosis, and CB-NAAT (Genexpert) molecular tests are also being used for testing.
Case fatality ratio in PMC higher than that of country
The case fatality ratio (CFR) in PMC areas is around 2.5 per cent, slightly higher than the country’s 2.41 per cent. Pune district has registered a CFR of 2.35 per cent, while the state’s CFR is at 3.75 per cent. Mumbai’s CFR is at 5.61 per cent. Rao said they had estimated an approximate number of 27,000 active cases by the end of July, out of which at least 3,000 would require hospitalisation
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