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Pune, Kolhapur among 10 districts with higher weekly Covid positivity rate than state average

While experts said measures such as contact tracing were not up to the mark, according to Dr Subhash Salunkhe, adviser to the state government on Covid-19, the reason for a rise in cases in this district can be attributed to a large number of people gathering for elections at some sugar factories.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
July 14, 2021 11:23:03 pm
Police personnel in Mahathma Phule Mandai area on a round to ensure that the limited lockdown in the city is followed by the traders, give a warning to a hawkers to shut shop at 4 pm. (Express Photo by Pavan Khengre)

Even as Kolhapur has started showing a slight decline in weekly Covid positivity rate (July 6 to 12), as compared to its previous one, it continues to remain a district of concern, a fresh analysis for state Covid-19 figures has shown. Other districts of concern include Pune, Satara, Sangli and Ratnagiri, which are among 10 districts whose weekly positivity rate remains higher than the state average of 4.36 per cent. The analysis also shows that Nandurbar sits on top of the list of these 10 districts with a weekly positivity rate of 11.72 per cent.

While experts said measures such as contact tracing were not up to the mark, according to Dr Subhash Salunkhe, adviser to the state government on Covid-19 and currently on tour in Sangli, the reason for a rise in cases in this district can be attributed to a large number of people gathering for elections at some sugar factories.

Sangli district collector Dr Abhijeet Chaudhari told The Indian Express that elections were held recently at Karad-based Krishna cooperative sugar factory. While Karad was in Satara district, some members of the cooperative mill were from talukas in Sangli district, he said.

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The district collector said the election had been mandated by the Bombay High Court and, despite issuing strict standard operating procedures, there was increased movement during the time. At present, however, Level IV restrictions had been introduced, he added.

Dr Pradeep Vyas, additional chief secretary (health), Maharashtra, told The Indian Express that the figure for Nandurbar was on account of reconciliation of old data. “The positivity rate is high at Nandurbar as 212 cases were added on July 11. This is a statistical fallacy,” said health officials.

Among districts with a weekly positivity rate higher higher than the state average are Kolhapur (9.85 per cent), Sangli (9.20 per cent), Satara (8.23 per cent), Ratnagiri (7.91 per cent), Pune (7.74 per cent), Raigad (6.18 per cent), Sindhudurg (5.94 per cent), Aurangabad (5.10 per cent) and Beed (4.64 per cent).

Trends in Pune district indicate that the weekly positivity rate has declined from 7.90 per cent (June 29 to July 5) to 7.74 per cent (July 6 to 12). Ratnagiri, however, has shown a slight increase in positivity rate as compared to the previous week where it registered 6.80 per cent (June 29 to July 5). Sangli has also shown a similar increase from its positivity rate of 8.90 per cent (June 29 to July 5).

Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer, said the Delta was a prominent variant and had different transmission dynamics. When large crowds gathered due to election or any other event, there was a possibility of rapid transmission of the infection and, hence, there was a rise in positive cases during this period followed by a subsequent decline, Dr Awate added.

“The more the virus spreads, higher are the chances of any other variant or mutation. Hence, surveillance and aggressive contact tracing are crucial to prevent the transmission speed,” he said.

Till July 12, across Maharashtra, a total of 1.08 lakh active cases of Covid-19 have been reported. A total of 15,552 patients have severe symptoms, of which 5,577 are admitted to intensive care units.

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