COVID-19 in Mumbai: No need to panic, says BMC

Updated: 08 September, 2020 07:25 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Despite active patients up from 18,000 to 24,000 in a month, and cases doubling every 67 days, civic body tells city not to worry and that it is all down to increased testing

A BMC health worker tests residents of Vini Garden Complex, Borivli, for COVID-19 on Monday. Pic/Satej Shinde
A BMC health worker tests residents of Vini Garden Complex, Borivli, for COVID-19 on Monday. Pic/Satej Shinde

Even though the COVID-19 figure in the city changed dramatically over the past two weeks, the civic chief says everything is under control and there is no need to panic. In nearly 20 days, the number of cases, doubling rate of infection and the Test Positivity Rate have all taken an upward turn.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said the number of confirmed cases has increased because the civic body is conducting more tests now.

Iqbal Singh Chahal, BMC chief
Iqbal Singh Chahal, BMC chief

According to the official data, the city had 17,917 active patients as of August 19 and the figure jumped by 35 per cent to 23,930 cases by September 6. During the same period, the growth rate of infections jumped to 1.03 per cent from 0.78 per cent. As of September 6, the COVID-19 cases were doubling every 67 days, against the 90 days as of August 19.

9,000 tests a day in Sept

The Test Positivity Rate (TPR) — the daily percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 — also shot up. Between August 1 and August 18, a total of 7,071 tests were conducted in the city and the TPR stood at 12 per cent — which means 12 reports came back positive per 100 tests conducted. Testing between August 19 and September 6 increased by just around 2,000 to 9,000, and the TPR rose by 4 per cent to 16 per cent, which shows more spread of the virus.

A civic health workers adivises residents in high-risk areas at Kapadiya Estate, Kranti Nagar on Monday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
A civic health workers adivises residents in high-risk areas at Kapadiya Estate, Kranti Nagar on Monday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, TPR should be less than 10 per cent.

Mumbai, which was reporting most cases in the state in the initial months since the COVID-19 outbreak, started seeing a drop in figures after the launch of 'Chase the Virus' campaign in May. By mid-August, the doubling rate stood at 90 days, but as the city started easing more of the lockdown restrictions, the cases started shooting upwards.

Also Read: Mumbai prepared for daily spike of 2,000 COVID-19 cases: BMC chief

A health worker collects swab samples of a woman. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
A health worker collects swab samples of a woman. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

11,861 tests on Sept 7

"The corporation was conducting around 4,000 tests a day in May and June, which increased to 7,619 per day (including antigen tests) in August. Since September 1, we are testing around 9,000 to 10,000 people and on Monday it reached 11,861. This is the primary reason for the rise in the number of positive cases in Mumbai," Chahal said.

He said there are 4,800 vacant beds at dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and dedicated COCID-19 Health Centres and 6,200 more beds can be added in jumbo facilities quickly whenever needed. "So there was no need to panic because of the sudden increase in positive cases," he added. "The cases started increasing from September 1 and we can analyse the trend in another two-three weeks," said Chahal.

"Since March, doctors have been trying to tell the government to increase testing. Earlier, the government did not want to show increased COVID-19 cases, and threats were made to doctors for over-testing," said Dr Deepak Baid, president of the Association of Medical Consultant, Mumbai. He added that now the cases have spread wide and contact tracing has become a challenge. It is like shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted.

0.78%
City's infection growth rate as of Aug 19

1.03%
City's infection growth rate as of Sept 6

16
No. of tests per 100 that came back +ve from Aug 19 to Sep 6

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First Published: 08 September, 2020 07:10 IST

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