Health experts and locals have lambasted the government and civic officials for its shoddy handling of the Coronavirus pandemic in Thane district, which currently has the positivity rate of 42 per cent – highest compared to Mumbai (23.12%) and Maharashtra (20%). The Thane district includes six of the nine municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
Data accessed by The Free Press Journal shows that the district’s positivity rate stood at 42 per cent on July 20, which means one out of two test samples are testing positive. It is a jump of 11 per cent compared to last month when it was around 31 per cent. Senior officials attributed the jump in positivity rate to more people being tested. However, health experts claimed the positivity rate is high as the number of testing is less and there is no strict implementation of lockdown.
Thane's positivity rate is nearly 19 per cent more than that of Mumbai and 22 per cent more than that of the state. The national positivity rate is 8 per cent. “The increase in the positivity rate is related to the large number of Covid-19 cases that the region has added in the last few weeks. In fact, the weekly positivity rate of Thane district climbing to as high as 43 per cent last week was one of the reasons a complete lockdown was announced for 10 days by the Thane, Kalyan and Mira Bhayandar corporations,” said an official.
Till date, 1,87,300 tests have been done in MMR region, which means on average 1,687 tests per day.
Dr Abhijeet More, co-conveyor, Jan Arogya Abhiyaan said the positive rate is much higher than what it is shown. As the corporation is doing less number of testing due to which the numbers are less compared to what it should be. “The cases are ten times higher than what it is now across the state. Once the number of testing is increased the cases will also rise, for now the ratio is 1:2, which means one out of two Covid patients is positive. It is a matter of concern,” he said.
Two other regions of MMR -- Raigad and Palghar -- too have a high number of people testing positive for Covid-19. Raigad, which includes Panvel Municipal Corporation, reported a positivity rate of 24%, up from 15% last month. Palghar, which covers the Vasai-Virar civic corporation besides the district area, had the second highest positivity rate of 29%, up from 16% last month.
The data also showed that the positivity rate in cities like Aurangabad, Dhule, Pune and Jalgaon too have been steadily rising. “We have been seeing an increase in positivity rate in Aurangabad, Jalgaon, Nashik, Dhule and Solapur. These are also areas seeing a corresponding increase in cases,” said Dr Satish Pawar from the Directorate of Health Services, adding that limited health infrastructure in these areas has added to the worry.