There is a sharp rise in the number of people under home and institutional quarantine across the state -- 278 and 359 per cent respectively -- in the past 30 days.
Officials have attributed this surge to the increase in daily cases in the rural districts of Maharashtra. Experts have warned, these numbers will increase further in the next 12 days if the public fails to adhere to the COVID norms
According to the data provided by the state health department, 7,953 patients are kept under instructional quarantine until March 20 as compared to 1,732 which was until February 21. Similarly 2.42 lakhs were home quarantined which increased to 9.18 lakh during the same period.
Dr Deepak Baid, the president of the Association of Medical Consultants, said the reason for the rising numbers was asymptomatic patients were being asked to stay home.
Currently, while there is a drop in the number of severe cases of infection across the state, there are a number of asymptomatic patients who are not hospitalised but kept in mandatory home quarantine for 14 days.
“More than 80 per cent of patients are asymptomatic and have been asked to be home- or institutional-quarantined, based on their priorities, while only 18 per cent of patients need hospitalisation. But they are also discharged within seven days or once their reports are negative,” he said.
State Surveillance Officer Dr Pradeep Awate said there were many factors due to which cases had increased, leading to a surge in home and institutional quarantine across the state.
Laxity in following COVID norms and the increased movement of people were the main factors for the surge, he said.
“COVID-inappropriate behaviour at the weddings or family functions has caused problems across the state. Similarly, more than 80 per cent of the people went home for gram panchayat elections, causing the virus to spread faster among citizens,” he said.
Dr Tatyarao Lahane, director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), said it will be another 10 days before the situation can be analysed.
“We need to assess whether the figures come down or go upwards from here. This will require at least a week. We have, however, managed to reduce the number of deaths from the peak of 350 to 60. This, too, needs to be curtailed further,” said Lahane, adding that cases have also increased owing to increased testing.