Yet another person in contact with the Sangli family, 23 of whose members have already been diagnosed with COVID-19, has tested positive for the virus, taking the total tally in the district to 25 on Sunday.
District authorities said a total lockdown has been imposed in Islampur tehsil — from where 24 of the 25 cases have been reported — for the next three days and the town has been sealed off for a radius of 3.5 km from the residence of the patients.
Authorities fear a further rise in the number of cases in Sangli in the next few days. “The fresh case is of a person who was in contact with the family from Islampur. His reports came in last night and he has tested positive,” State surveillance officer Dr. Pradeep Awate said.
Authorities said 337 people who were in close contact with the family have been placed in quarantine facilities. “Only medical stores will be kept open for a day, while the sale of vegetables and milk, too, would be prohibited till March 31,” Islampur Teshildar Ravindra Sabnis said. A three-member medical committee from Mumbai, under JJ Hospital dean Dr. Pallavi Saple, is already in Sangli to take stock of the situation.
On March 13, four members of the Islampur family arrived at Mumbai airport after travelling to Saudi Arabia for the Haj pilgrimage. Despite being directed to home quarantine, the family interacted freely with guests who came to meet them on their return home, and also threw a dinner party.
Dr. Sanjay Salunkhe, district civil surgeon, Sangli, said, “On March 19, the four started experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. We sent their swab samples to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, which returned positive. Soon enough, five other members of the family tested positive, to be followed by 14 others and a woman from Kolhapur who was in contact with some of the family members.”
State Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, who is the MLA from Islampur, had earlier said the area where the family lives had been cordoned off. At the same time, he stressed that all patients in the family, including senior citizens among them, were stable.
After one positive case, the Kolhapur administration, too, has tightened its vigil and has screened more than 51,000 people through home surveillance teams.
Meanwhile, with a fresh case being reported from Pune on Sunday, the number of cases in the district has now risen to 37. “Till date, 795 samples have been sent to the NIV, of which 740 have returned negative and the results of 28 sare awaited. At present, 44 patients are admitted to facilities in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, of whom three are said to be critical,” an official from the Pune Municipal Corporation’s health department said.
Meanwhile, in a positive development, five more COVID-19 patients were discharged on Sunday in Pimpri-Chinchwad, which has not recorded a single positive case for the past week. Till now, Pimpri-Chinchwad has recorded 12 positive cases, of whom three were discharged earlier in the week.