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Maharashtra: Amravati sees another surge, over 80% Covid cases in rural areas

In Amravati, rural areas account for 83 per cent of fresh cases as the transmission pattern moves from urban to rural parts. Officials said they are also noting a percentage rise in deaths in younger age groups in Amravati.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
Updated: May 19, 2021 9:03:47 am
A police official stop and check commuters during complete ongoing lockdown imposed by authorites amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, in Amravati, Maharashtra on Sunday. May 16, 2021. (PTI)

Amravati district has shown a worrying rise in Covid-19 cases for a second time this year even as the rest of Maharashtra is showing a downward trend.

Amravati was one of the first districts in Maharashtra to report a second wave in February this year. Following a 10-day lockdown in March, it noted a dip in cases. But state data shows it has again seen a rise in average daily cases by 148 per cent from April 9-15, when 426 new cases were recorded daily, to May 8-14 when 1,060 daily new cases were reported.

In the same period, Maharashtra has noted a fall in daily new cases from over 65,000 to 40,900.

On April 16 the state implemented a lockdown. “There are 19 districts that have shown a rise in active cases since. But our concern is Amravati, Buldhana, Yavatmal in Vidarbha region. They have shown significant surge despite a lockdown. Nagpur has shown a decline,” said state epidemiologist Dr Pradeep Awate.

Awate said that laxity in control measures could cause erratic rise in cases but the health department is studying data of contact tracing and sending more samples for genome sequencing to understand the pattern.

Yavatmal and Buldhana too have recorded a rise towards April end and May beginning, although both districts have shown a declining trend since the last one week. The state held a video conference with districts on Monday to assess why some districts have noted a surge and why some are showing a sudden drop— Nanded reported 81 and Mumbai 77 per cent drop in daily cases between pre-lockdown and now.

In Amravati, rural areas account for 83 per cent of fresh cases as the transmission pattern moves from urban to rural parts. Officials said they are also noting a percentage rise in deaths in younger age groups in Amravati. Of 1270 deaths reported till date due to Covid-19, 168 belonged to 41-50 years and 95 to 31-40 years in the district. District data shows a death audit of 697 deaths has been undertaken.

On Monday the Amravati collector held a meeting with district officials and decided to form village-level committees. Their task will be to ensure everyone complies with isolation norms and lockdown rules. Civil surgeon Dr Shyamsunder Nikam said, “Ideally in rural areas, infection can be easily controlled due to the sparse population. But that is not happening here. We still don’t understand the pattern. The Indian variant is abundant here.”

Amravati is sending 180 samples regularly for genome sequencing. It has noted double variant B.1.617 in most samples.

Amravati has noted a weekly positivity rate of 27 per cent, while Buldhana’s positivity rate is 37 per cent for last week. Amravati had 4874 active cases before the state-wide lockdown was announced on April 16, its active burden now stands at 10,205. Buldhana has 5873 active cases, up from 2,737 cases. Yavatmal’s positivity rate is 14 percent, its active cases are 5244, up from 4305.

Dr Balkrishna Kamble, district health officer in Buldhana, said they noted a second surge in cases in April end and early May this year, but since a week fresh cases have dipped from over 1000 to 600-800. Yavatmal is reporting 600-700 cases, down from 1300. Apart from these three districts, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri are noting a steady rise in active cases since a month.

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