Maharashtra on Wednesday recorded 10,576 Covid-19 infections, the first in excess of 10,000 and its steepest single-day increase, as its tally rose to 337,607. The state has 136,980 active cases with a recovery rate of 55.62%. Maharashtra also recorded 280 fatalities on Wednesday, taking its death toll to 12,556.
Pune city recorded the highest number of cases on Wednesday at 2,111, followed by Mumbai at 1,310. Confirmed cases in Pune stood at 43,645, while Mumbai’s tally was 104,678. Wednesday also saw the case count in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), excluding Mumbai, going up to 105,300, surpassing Mumbai’s tally.
The state has been clocking over 8,000 cases daily for the past six days with infections increasing in the remaining eight municipal corporations outside Mumbai in MMR and in districts such as Nashik, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur and Solapur. The number of active cases in tier-two cities and towns of Maharashtra has seen a steep increase in the past month. Officials said they were confident there will not be any shortage of beds in these districts considering the new wave of infections could stretch health infrastructure. Senior government officials attributed the increase in active cases to the increased daily testing across districts and increased movement of people.
An analysis of state health department data showed that Pune district had 7,071 active cases on June 22, and on July 21 it had 36,810 active cases, which its 61.61% of the total infections recorded in the district. A month ago, it had 43.97% active cases.
Thane has the second-highest number of active cases at 36,180, which is 45.27% of the total caseload in the district. The Thane district, which has six municipal corporations under it, has been clocking a high number of cases in the past month. On June 22, it had 25,390 cases with 14,555 active infections. On July 22, its tally stood at 79,911 cases with 36,180 active infections.
Nashik district has witnessed a similar spike over the past month. It had 1,185 active cases on June 22, which rose to 4,221 on July 21, accounting for 41.16% of the total cases.
Solapur, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Jalna, and Latur districts have all seen similar caseload spikes. Kolhapur district, which had 62 active cases on June 22, had 1,401 active cases on July 21, accounting for 58.06% of the total cases in the district. Kolhapur district had 747 Covid-19 cases till June 22, which rose to 2,413, as of Tuesday.
“In the past two to three weeks, we have seen a steep increase in the number of cases from rural as well as urban areas of the district. Between March and June, we did not see many cases, but the new wave has increased the active caseload in the district. We have ramped up health infrastructure, we have set up Covid Care Centres and requisitioned ICU beds from private hospitals,” said Dr BC Kempi Patil, civil surgeon, Kolhapur.
Latur and Jalna districts, too, have over 50% active cases in comparison to the total cases registered. In Latur, there were 631 active cases as of July 21 (51.25% of the total cases). In the same period, Jalgaon district saw a decrease in the active caseload, from 41.22% to 28.46%. However, the absolute number of cases has gone up from 2,426 on June 22 to 8,138 on Wednesday.
Active cases in Parbhani and Washim districts are comparatively lower in absolute numbers with 212 and 217, respectively. However, there has been a substantial increase from June. On June 22, Parbhani had seven active cases, and now it has 212 active, which made up 53.25% of the district’s total. Washim had 31 active cases and now has 217 active cases, which accounted for 56.07% of the total caseload in the district. Buldhana’s active case tally was 417, which was 62.33% of the total caseload.
A senior government official said they were carrying out rapid antigen tests that gave faster results so as to stop the spread of virus in the period between tests and results of suspected patients. The official said that the “intermingling” of people of semi-urban areas and rural areas was a “possible explanation” for the wave of infections in these areas. Barring Thane, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Mumbai districts, the restrictions had been lifted much earlier in other districts as the cases were not many.
“We do not want the outbreak to go out of hand in rural and semi-urban areas. We have seen an increase in these (rural and semi-urban) areas, but the increase is not exponential. All districts are now starting to use the rapid antigen kits for faster results. We have ramped up testing, tracing and treatment. The availability of beds will not be an issue as cases are not growing exponentially,” a senior government official said, who did not wish to be named. The official added that district administration has been asked to aggressively follow tracing, especially in densely populated areas of their districts.
Meanwhile, Mumbai on Wednesday recorded 58 more fatalities, taking its toll to 5,875, while Pune city recorded 36 deaths, which pushed its toll to 1,117. Pimpri-Chinchwad recorded 1,133 new cases and 18 fatalities. Nashik recorded 298 new cases, while Ahmednagar district and city recorded 240 and 201 fresh Covid-19 cases. Kolhapur district reported 193 new infections, while Aurangabad city, which is nearing 8000 confirmed cases, reported 248 new Covid-19 cases.
Maharashtra has so far tested 16,87,213 people with an overall positivity rate of 20%. So far, 187,769 Covid-19 patients have recovered and have been discharged. Currently, 858,121 people are in home quarantine and 44,975 people are in institutional quarantine.