Coronavirus in Mumbai: Civic body knocks at the door of high-rises in D Ward

Under its revised strategy to contain COVID-19 in some of the posh locations of South Mumbai, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) D ward commenced door-to-door screening of residents to check for symptoms associated with it. Those with co-morbid conditions will be given special attention and swabs would be collected in suspected cases, the assistant municipal commissioner of the ward said.

According to the ward officials, though the process is time-consuming, it will be greatly helpful in the early detection of cases. "The strategy helped us at a time when slum areas were reporting a higher number of cases compared to high-rises. However, the trend has reversed since June. Cluster cases have been found among staff and employees working in high-rises. Therefore, teams are aggressively conducting door-to-door screening in all residential buildings in the ward,” said Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner of D ward. Civic body teams will also check the oxygen levels in senior citizens.

Gaikwad added, "Door-to-door screening helps in detecting cases early, which will give us a head start in trying to contain the spread of the virus. We will then be in a position to provide early treatment. Recovery will be easier and many lives will be saved too."

The civic body has also set up a COVID-19 testing centre at the civic-run Jagannath Shankar Seth (JSS) near Nana Chowk in Grant road, where residents having symptoms can get tested for free.

With the relaxation of the lockdown under Mission Begin Again earlier in June, COVID-19 cases started making a comeback in the high rises in D ward. BMC’s D Ward, which constitutes areas like Malabar Hill, Gamdevi, Peddar Road and Nepean Sea Road, amongst others, began witnessing a sudden spike in cases in its high rises, as residential societies allowed entry to house helps and drivers.

Fearing the spread of COVID-19 amongst drivers, security guards and even house helps, BMC had suggested housing societies across Mumbai to ban their entry in the premises. Some housing societies followed suit. However many affluent societies and bungalows never stopped house helps and continued to take their services.

D ward initially had patients who had travelled abroad in the past couple of months or had come in contact with relatives or acquaintances having foreign travel history. This trend then gradually changed. There had been cases where drivers and security guards contracted the disease through their employers. Now, the trend seems to have reversed again and the virus has once again found its way into the high-rises. The profile of the people getting infected in D ward has changed and has now gone back to the high-rises, BMC officials have said.

The total COVID-19 cases in D ward as on July 21 stands at 3,752, including 159 deaths. It has recorded 886 active cases.

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