COVID-19: Pune’s doubling rate improves to 41 days

Leading the way: Rubal Agarwal, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation.  

Even as Pune continues to report an average daily surge of over 1,100 COVID-19 cases, a silver lining is that the city’s doubling rate has improved to 41 days — the highest since the outbreak of the pandemic in March.

Rubal Agarwal, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Pune Smart City Development Corporation Ltd. (PSCDCL), said the number of days it took for positive cases to double had improved to 41.83 days.

Over 5,000 tests daily

“This is certainly a heartening indicator. Furthermore, since August 7, the PMC has carried out over 75,500 rapid antigen tests, with an average of around 5,000 tests a day, besides intensively focusing on contact tracing,” Ms. Agarwal said while speaking to The Hindu.

She said till date, civic authorities, as part of contact tracing, have screened 8.04 lakh people in the city, of whom 2.38 lakh are high-risk contacts.

“Through household, door-to-door and mobile ambulance surveys, and flu clinic referrals, we managed to trace 2,38, 325 ‘first contacts’ or the high-risk ones. Of these, over 60,000 tested positive,” Ms. Agarwal said.

As per data given by the PMC, the city’s total case tally stands at just over 76,000, with nearly 60,000 recoveries and around 14,500 active cases. The death toll stands at 1,962. Ms. Agarwal said the active cases, too, had come down from 27% to 19% in the last 10 days.

“At the moment, our recovery rate stands at a robust 78.34%. Our teams are pulling out all stops, from sample testing to screening. Our focus is on bringing down the case fatality rate, which stands at 2.38%,” she said, adding that around 800 patients were in a critical condition, of whom more than 450 were on ventilator.

‘Take threat seriously’

Stressing that it was imperative for the public to take the threat of the virus seriously, Ms. Agarwal appealed to people to behave responsibly during the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities by remaining indoors and helping break the chain of transmission of the novel coronavirus.

“We can go on increasing our testing capabilities and screening even more intensely, but there is only so much that the PMC and its medical staff can do. The people cannot afford to be complacent during this unlocking phase and keep roaming around the city without any cause,” she said, adding that in several cases, individuals were found congregating at places without reason and observing elementary precautions.

Monitoring small pandals

While the bigger Ganesh pandals in Pune, like Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, have already declared that there would be no public ceremonies this time and are encouraging online worship, Ms. Agarwal is worried that monitoring smaller, unregulated pandals might put a strain on the civic body’s overstretched resources.

“The larger pandals have already taken the lead in discouraging assembly and mass gathering during the Ganapati festival. But the case positivity rate has yet to decline drastically. So, it is up to the public to maintain order and act in a restrained fashion to reduce the rise in cases,” she said.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 10:56:11 AM |

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