Districts with high positivity to get additional vaccine stock: Chief secy

Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte on Friday directed districts with Covid-19 high positivity rate to conduct more tests and implement containment zones where necessary. In addition, districts with high positivity rate will be given additional vaccine stock to speed up their daily vaccination numbers.

This was decided in a meeting attended by divisional commissioners, collectors, municipal commissioners, chief executive officers of zilla parishads and district police heads in Nashik and Pune.
At least nine districts – Aurangabad, Akola, Nandurbar, Nashik, Pune, Buldhana, Wardha, Nagpur and Amravati – have reported weekly positivity rate above 15 per cent. Officials worry that Aurangabad, with 24.4 per cent positivity rate, may be on verge of seeing a sudden spike in cases. Akola and Nandurbar follow closely with 22.6 and 22.06 per cent positivity rate, respectively.

Maharashtra on Friday recorded 15,817 Covid-19 cases and 56 deaths. The toll in the state has touched 52,723. Friday’s count is the highest the state has recorded so far this year. State officials said they expect daily cases to reach 20,000 a day by this month end. At present, With 1.1 lakh active infections, the state has so far reported 22.82 lakh cases.

Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas, who was also a part of the meeting, said there is a need to implement measures based on the positivity rate in a district. He said that for districts with more than 15 per cent positivity rate, stricter measures of surveillance, containment zones and prevention of mass gathering are necessary. Maharashtra’s positivity rate is currently 10.9 per cent. Sixteen districts have a higher positivity rate than the state’s average.

Kunte said the rate of fatality was high in some districts and effective measures were needed to reduce it. Eight districts have a death rate higher than 3 per cent. This includes Sangli, Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Kolhapur, Parbhani, Solapur, Osmanabad and Satara.

Kunte also directed districts to increase contact tracing for faster detection of cases.

Officials present in the meeting said that the decision to provide additional vaccine doses to districts with high positivity rate was taken to help immunise larger population in these areas.

Data from the last one month shows that only Sindhudurg, Sangli and Gondia have seen a reduction in active infections. “Our approach should be centered on surveillance,” said state epidemiologist Dr Pradeep Awate, adding that on a positive note, the case fatality rate has dropped from 2.19 per cent last December to 0.83 per cent in February.

Police officers have been asked to bring back personnel on the ground to ensure containment zone norms are followed by local residents.