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Maharashtra govt to 18 districts with high positivity rate: Conduct more tests, reduce home isolation

“We have asked collectors to set up Covid care centres at villages and shift patients in home isolation there. At home, people are not undergoing proper treatment and home isolation norms are not being followed,” Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: May 26, 2021 12:16:30 am
Covid-19A person takes the jab during a at drive-in vaccination drive at Navi Mumbai (Express photo by Amit Chakravarty)

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday asked 18 districts with a positivity rate higher than the state average to increase Covid-19 testing, reduce home isolation and set up isolation centres in villages to reduce the risk of infection spread.

Satara, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Gadchiroli, Osmanabad, Beed, Raigad, Pune, Hingoli, Akola, Amravati, Kolhapur, Thane, Sangli, Wardha, Nashik, Latur and Ahmednagar districts have positivity rate (number of infected against the total tested) above 16 per cent, which is Maharashtra’s average. Among these, Satara, Osmanabad, Hingoli and Beed have positivity rates of over 25 per cent.

“We have asked collectors to set up Covid care centres at villages and shift patients in home isolation there. At home, people are not undergoing proper treatment and home isolation norms are not being followed,” Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

State officials said they have received complaints of patients in home isolation indulging in self-medication as well as using steroids in the first week of illness, although the use of the drugs are advised in the second week if fever persists. Infected people are also violating isolation norms, posing a risk of infection spread, the officials added. “Gram panchayats can use 25 per cent of funds under the 15th Finance Commission to set up isolation wards in villages and to handle its expenses,” Tope said. A senior health official said they are collecting data to analyse all mucormycosis cases and whether there is a link between home isolation and self-medication. In a meeting with district officials on Tuesday, the health department directed that testing be increased among low-risk and high-risk contacts of the infected. At least 70 per cent of daily tests must be processed through RT-PCR, officials said, adding that several districts are randomly testing the general population to bring down their positivity rates.

“Districts cannot pat themselves on the back if they are bringing down the positivity rate like this,” said Tope.

At present, Maharashtra’s overall positivity rate stands at 16.83 per cent. Until a fortnight ago, it was 17.3 per cent. On April 25, it was 16.68 per cent. Weekly data shows 17 to 20 districts have more positivity rate than the state’s average since a month.

Districts have been directed to set up paediatric wards, neonatal and ventilators for children infected with Covid-19. Also, collectors have been asked to use district planning and development council funds to conduct fire audits in all government hospitals.

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