Restrictive measures must continue for a longer time: task force experts
According to a new state analysis, Pune, Nagpur and Nashik districts will have the most active Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra by May 11. The analysis also flags an acute shortage of oxygen beds in these three districts by that time.
The state cabinet meeting held on Wednesday took this analysis into consideration while deciding to extend the lockdown-like restrictions till May 15 in Maharashtra. Experts said that it was unanimously recommended by the state Covid task force as an important measure to reduce the pace of Covid-19 transmission.
“We are very clear that there should be a restriction on public and large gatherings for another two to three months. Do not allow larger crowds to gather even at vegetable markets… Doctors are totally exhausted and cannot be stretched to a breaking point,” said Dr Subhash Salunkhe, technical advisor to the state on Covid-19 and member of the state Covid task force.
Till April 26, there were a total of 6.74 lakh active Covid-19 cases across the state, of which 10.33 per cent (69,705 patients) were critically ill. Overall, there are 22,387 patients admitted to intensive care units, of which 6,248 are on ventilator support while 16,139 are on oxygen support.
The analysis estimates that Pune district will have as many as 1,20,376 active Covid-19 cases by May 11 and considering these numbers, state officials have anticipated a shortfall of 4,097 oxygen supported beds and 26,345 isolation beds. However there would be 103 ICU beds and 227 ventilators. As of April 27, there are 1.04 lakh active Covid cases in Pune district.
In Nagpur district, the number of active Covid cases by May 11 is estimated to be 1,13,093, with health officials anticipating a shortfall of 43,583 isolation beds, 8,679 oxygen beds, 1,247 ICU beds and 455 ventilators. Presently there are 75,219 active cases in Nagpur.
According to the analysis, Nashik is estimated to have 95,916 active Covid-19 cases by May 11 and there will be a shortfall of 38,615 isolation beds, 6,253 oxygen supported beds, 1,535 ICU beds and 27 ventilators. As on April 27, there were 51,061 active cases in Nashik.
Mumbai, which presently has 68,603 active cases, is anticipated to have 64,507 active cases by May 11. The analysis did not indicate a shortfall as by then, Mumbai is expected to have 4,200 oxygen beds, 1,129 ICU beds and 923 ventilators. The analysis has also flagged concerns over districts where the case fatality rate is high, including Sindhudurg, Solapur, Amravati, Nanded and Osmanabad.
Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the state Covid-19 task force, said, “We are still in the second wave which is more ferocious, the peak lasts longer and is more difficult to contain, leading to a strain on the health infrastructure. In Mumbai, though the health infrastructure has been ramped up, we cannot afford to be slip up and lower our guard”.
He said 13-14 districts across Maharashtra have shown good recovery rates but at the same time, the healthcare infrastructure has been overwhelmed, particularly in Pune, Nashik and Nagpur. “Due to the measures taken, the rate of transmission has slowed down. However, the restrictive measures will have to continue for some time – this strain has been more transmissible but it is a fast recovering one with low case fatality rate,” Dr Joshi said.
Across the state, there are 5,552 healthcare facilities, including dedicated Covid hospitals. There are 2.93 lakh isolation beds for Covid patients and another 1.35 lakh beds for patients suspected to have Covid-19 symptoms. There are 83,966 oxygen-supported beds, 27,936 ICU beds and 11,446 ventilators.
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