The Maharashtra government has decided to stop home quarantining of COVID-19 patients in 18 districts where the positivity rate is high and all active patients in these areas would be admitted to COVID Care Centers, health minister Rajesh Tope said here on Tuesday. Of 36 districts in the state, Satara, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Osmanabad, Beed, Raigad, Pune, Hingoli, Akola, Amravati, Kolhapur, Thane, Sangli, Gadchiroli, Wardha, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Latur have above-average positivity rates, as per the health department data.
Ordinarily, asymptomatic patients or those who have mild symptoms of coronavirus infection are advised home isolation.
The state has 3,27,000 active COVID-19 cases and the recovery rate has improved to 93 per cent. The case positivity rate -- proportion of positive cases in tested samples -- is around 12 per cent while the case fatality rate is 1.5 per cent, Tope told reporters here.
But the positivity rate in 18 districts is higher than the state average, he said.
"The state government has decided to stop home isolation completely in these 18 districts. The district collectors have been asked to set up more COVID Care Centers (CCCs) and admit all active patients there," he said.
The collectors have also been asked to utilise the funds from the premium collected on the auction of minor minerals for setting up CCCs in villages, he added.
"Testing has to be done in a focused manner. Once a person tests positive for coronavirus, all high- and low- risks persons (who may have come in contact with the patient) should be tested. The collectors of the 18 districts (with high positivity rate) have been instructed to avoid random testing in large numbers to artificially bring down the positivity rate," the health minister said.
All district collectors have also been directed to complete fire safety audits of hospitals in their areas, he informed.
Asha (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers will be trained to conduct Rapid Antigen Tests and use self-testing kits, Tope said, adding they will be asked to encourage villagers to undergo testing and also to spread awareness about the importance of vaccination.
On the global tender issued by the state for coronavirus vaccines, the minister said, “There has been no response from any vaccine producer. We have sent emails for Sputnik-V vaccine (to the Russian manufacturing firm) but are yet to hear from them. The Centre should float a tender on behalf of the states."