The number of people under home quarantine across the state witnessed a steep drop of 58.67 percent in the past eight days. According to the data provided by the state Health Department, as many as 25,44,799 people were home quarantined on November 1 and it has come down to 10,51,321 on November 8.
State officials have attributed this drop of people under home quarantine to the more number of people being recovered in Maharashtra and due to the awareness on coronavirus amongst the citizens. However, health officers warn of a spike in the cases post-Diwali celebrations.
Since the last two weeks, the daily new COVID-19 cases in the state witnessed decline to an average of 7,000 despite conducting around 70,000 tests every day. Along with this, the recovery rate among mildly symptomatic patients has also increased drastically.
“The overall active cases have come down all across the state especially at the hotspots. For instance, now both Pune and Mumbai which were the major contributors in the cumulative COVID-19 cases, the number of active patients have come down to around 17,000,” said Dr Pradeep Awate, state Surveillance Officer.
As per the data of the state Health Department, districts like Kolhapur (323), Dhule (317), Washim (107) and Nandurbar (429) have the lowest number of active coronavirus cases.
Along with that, the number of patients on institutional quarantine has also decreased from 12,230 recorded on November 1 to 7,912 on November 8. This counts as a 35 percent drop in the institutional quarantine in the state.
Officials said predicting a COVID graph is challenging as new trends emerge every time. For instance, the state saw a surge in post-Ganpati festival, but infections did not multiply after Navratri and Dussehra festivities as feared. “The behaviour of a second wave would also be difficult to predict because a good share of our population, say up to 40 percent, would have developed antibodies,” the official said.
The state’s medical colleges have almost 6,700 beds, including 1,645 ICU beds and there are no plans to scale down them at present. “We continue to have over 40 percent occupancy. We will be maintaining our bed strength for now if the second wave comes. Also, we have installed liquid oxygen tanks in all 20 medical colleges,” said Dr TP Lahane, head of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER).
However, the health activists claim that as the state government is gradually relaxing the lockdown, they are trying to showcase less number of active COVID-19 cases so that everything should get opened and there should be no fear among the citizens. But the state government doesn’t know if Maharashtra enters the second wave, then it will be difficult for them to handle the situation.
“The home quarantine patients aren’t tested before being declared recovered. In the race to open up the trains and offices, the health department can miss out on non-recovered patients. So, they need to be more careful,” said Dr Abhijit More, a health activist.