THE SLUM-DOMINATED area of Mumbai, Dharavi recorded 62 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday. This is over a two-fold increase in the last 24 hours. On Tuesday, 28 new cases were detected in Dharavi.
The total active case count in Dharavi has risen to 237. Almost a month ago, as of February 26, total active cases from Dharavi were 51. According to BMC data, since the pandemic broke out, Dharavi has reported 4,531 cases.
The BMC has taken stringent measures to prevent the situation from escalating in the slum-dominated area, as it did in mid-2020. “The daily number of cases is high because of increased and aggressive testing. We have a target of over 2,000 daily tests from the ward. We have gone back to the old model that helped us contain the spread last year. We have aggressively started screening people from the slum and conducting tests. We are testing almost 15 to 20 people for every positive case that we find,” said Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, G-North ward, which covers Dharavi.
According to data by the civic body, 70 per cent cases from the ward are asymptomatic. The death rate is also low in the ward; as per data eight deaths were recorded in January, followed by six in February and two as of March 20.
As opposed to a lukewarm response to vaccination on Monday at the Dharavi centre, with only 64 being vaccinated against a target of 1,000, the centre on Wednesday vaccinated 100 slum residents. In the last three days, 253 residents have been vaccinated. Health workers from the ward are going to clusters to boost vaccination numbers, while the ward is also conducting street plays to educate and motivate residents to get vaccinated. Some residents also received text messages from local corporators and opted to get the jab.
In the last two days, the G-North ward, which covers Mahim, Dadar and Dharavi areas, have tested 1,469 people. The civic body has dispatched mobile RT-PCR testing vans to pockets that have been reporting cases, so that high-risk contacts of Covid patients may be tested. The G-North Ward has also set up free Covid-19 camps at local dispensaries. Of nine dispensaries, six are located in Dharavi. Those with symptoms are immediately being made to undergo RT-PCR test. Testing facilities are available at nine health posts.
Daily escalation in cases has forced the ward to re-activate institutional quarantine and isolation centres. Two more Covid care centres are being set up at Vanmali Hall, Dadar and Mahim nature park. Vanmali will have 100 beds to house mild and asymptomatic cases and the nature park will start with 200 beds, which can be scaled up to 1,200 beds.
G-North ward areas recorded 212 new cases on Wednesday, taking the total number of active cases to 1,098. Mahim alone recorded 86 new cases.