The Centre on Wednesday expressed concern over the large active caseload and a high Covid-19 fatality rate of 2.63 per cent in Maharashtra (3.5 per cent in and around Mumbai). This is notwithstanding the fact that progressive active cases have come down to 88,070.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, in a video conference, has asked the Maharashtra government to suppress and break the chain of transmission, bring down the mortality rate to less than 1 per cent and emphasised the need for prolonged behaviour change. “Covid-appropriate behaviour is the most potent social vaccine,'' he noted.
He also suggested the state government focus on higher testing, especially in Nagpur, Thane, Palghar, Pune, Jalgaon, Aurangabad and Solapur, which had higher positivity, mandatory testing of symptomatic negatives thrown up by rapid antigen tests, increased tracing of close contacts of positive cases, proper follow-up and monitoring of those in home isolation, especially the vulnerable groups.
On his part, Maharashtra's Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope explained that the daily mortality rate in the state had come down to 2 per cent and the government was making all efforts to halve it. ‘‘The government has taken a slew of measures, including increased testing facilities, beds, ICU and oxygen beds, early detection of cases, monitoring of home isolated patients, free treatment for almost 82-83 per cent Covid-19 patients in government and civic hospitals. Further, the government has capped the rates of masks, scanning, RT-PCR tests, Remdesivir and ambulances,’’ he said.
Tope further said that under the 'My Family, My Responsibility' campaign, the government conducted house-to-house surveys and monitoring of home isolation cases and cases of severe acute respiratory infection and influenza-like illness. Of the 5.7 lakh surveyed, 51,000 Covid-19 positive cases were identified. He added that the government had launched the compilation of co-morbid data, based on the campaign findings.
However, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has called upon the state government to further step up efforts to bring down the fatality rate to less than 1 per cent. To achieve this, he has called upon the state government for quick and aggressive testing, targeted testing at market places, workplaces and religious congregations, which have the potential to become super-spreader events.
He advised quick hospitalisation, ensuring adequate infrastructure in hospitals, focusing on avoidable deaths in the first 24/48/72 hours of admission, vulnerable population groups and a review of hospital-wide mortality figures.