Health infra in Pune’s rural areas enough to cope with any emergency: authorities


Despite rising COVID-19 cases in Pune’s rural areas, the administration has the requisite medical infrastructure to cope with any sudden upsurge, authorities said on Friday. Five more deaths and over 180 new cases were reported from the district. While the death toll has now risen to 315, the cumulative case tally has reached 7,200.

A worrying factor for the rural administration has been the influx of nearly 1.5 lakh people into Pune district from Mumbai in the last fortnight since the easing of lockdown regulations.

However, Pune zilla parishad chief executive officer (CEO) Ayush Prasad said an intensive screening by healthcare officials and the police have prevented local transmission till now.

Mr. Prasad said the rural and semi-urban areas have more than enough beds to handle any emergency. “At present, the rural and semi-urban areas together have around 150 active positive cases. Our capacity utilisation is a mere 2% of the actual number of beds available currently.”

The CEO said, “A special watch is being kept up by our survey teams for any rise in a particular person’s co-morbidities. We have charted an exhaustive survey plan divided into daily and periodic surveys. The daily surveys include ‘high-risk’ individuals engaged in essential services like policemen or nurses who are returning from ‘containment zones’ within Pune city or senior citizens and pregnant, lactating mothers.”

He also said the rural administration had requisitioned 65 ambulances and four additional vehicles across different talukas to ferry suspected cases and to drop discharged patients at their homes.

“Given the large number of people returning to their homes from containment zones in Mumbai, we are keeping a watch on those who have been in home quarantine,” Mr. Prasad said.

An effective data-collection system augmented by 111 check posts recording the entry and exit of every vehicle and person was the key to controlling the spread of the contagion, he said.

“At each check post, people are screened and entries made in a google spreadsheet for potential cases of anybody showing virus-like signs. We have distributed 1,500 pulse oximeters among our 500-odd healthcare staff who refer any person with oxygen levels under 95,” Mr. Prasad said, adding around 4,000 people are screened daily using these methods. Furthermore, he said pharmacies have been alerted to report any person buying medicines in larger doses.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Pune division — which consists of the districts of Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur along with Pune — has surged to 411.

Solapur district continued to report an alarming rise in the number of deaths with seven more fatalities on Friday to push the district’s tally to 72, while Satara district reported two more deaths to take its toll to 17.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said the division’s total cases stand at 8,981, of which 4,147 are active ones. Of these, Pune has 3,037 active cases.

Solapur reported 100 new cases while Satara reported at least 30 fresh ones. “At present, Satara has 452 cases, of which 301 are active, while Solapur has 795 cases, of which 419 are active. Kolhapur has 436 cases, of which 359 are active, while Sangli has 98 cases, of which 41 are active,” Mr. Mhaisekar said.

He said 4,423 people have been discharged across the division of whom 3,848 are from Pune district.