Mumbai: There were 431 fresh coronavirus cases and 18 deaths reported in Maharashtra on Wednesday, taking the tally to 5,649, with 269 deaths until now. There is concern over these rising numbers, as more than 2,000 cases have been reported in the state in just four days.
Of the 18 fatalities being reported on Wednesday, 10 were from Mumbai, two each from Pune and Aurangabad and one each from Kalyan-Dombivli, Solapur, Malegaon and Jalgaon.
Health experts said Mumbai has become the epicentre of the outbreak, with the highest number of cases and deaths, and remains the state's biggest concern. “Of the 5,649 cases recorded in Maharashtra, 66 per cent were in Mumbai alone. The city also contributed to 60 per cent of the 269 deaths in the state,” said an official.
Anup Kumar Yadav, director, National Health Mission (NHM), Maharashtra, attributed the surge in the number of cases to the declaration of pending test results from the government-approved private laboratories.
“We have to verify the data of all the Covid-19 positive cases and it is a time-consuming process. First, private laboratories send us the data and afterwards, to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Therefore, at times, there are discrepancies in the reporting of Covid-19 positive cases,” he said.
According to the public health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai recorded 309 new corona cases and 10 deaths on Tuesday. The total number of cases in the city is 3,754, with 161 deaths so far.
Civic officials too attributed the giant jump to the number of cases being reported by private laboratories. “Of the 309 new cases, 127 had tested positive between April 17 and April 19 in private laboratories and the numbers were updated on Tuesday. However 182 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours,” said an official.
The biggest worry for officials in Mumbai is to contain the disease before the arrival of the monsoon in June. Preparations must be made to deal with monsoon-related ailments so that local workers are not exhausted. “We need early containment, because we need to prepare ourselves for other seasonal outbreaks,” the official said.
The other concern for the state government is that five of the biggest private hospitals in Mumbai are shut and more than 150 healthcare workers in the city are infected. The decision to convert the tertiary care provider, Nair Hospital, also a teaching college, into a Covid-19 facility, and converting large, empty spaces into quarantine facilities are all moves that have been made, anticipating the worst.
“We are preparing for the worst, as Mumbai continues to be at the peak. The city’s population density poses a challenge,” said a doctor.
Of the 90,223 laboratory samples, 83,979 were negative while 5,649 tested positive for coronavirus until Tuesday. So far, 789 patients have been discharged. Currently, 1,09,072 people are in home quarantine and 8,051 people are in institutional quarantine.