Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, the city is witnessing new hot spots with Goregaon, Borivli, Mulund, Kandivli, Dahisar and Malabar Hill reporting a growing number of cases. These areas now comprise almost 40% of the total active cases in Mumbai.
Till June, G North ward (Dharavi, Dadar and Mahim) had the highest number of Covid-19 cases. Now, the hotspots have are in Borivli, Andheri (West), Malad, and Andheri (East), which have more than 11,000 cases at present.
Data provided by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) shows recent spikes in the Covid-19 growth rate in Bandra, Borivli, Andheri and Dahisar. H West ward, which covers Bandra (West), recorded the highest spike of 1.71%, followed by R Central ward (Borivli), with 1.55%; K West ward (Andheri), with 1.41%; and R North ward (Dahisar), with 1.34%.
BMC attributes the spike to increased testing. “Cases are directly proportionate to the number of tests. So, as we aim to conduct the highest number of tests, we have ramped up testing,” said additional municipal commissioner, Suresh Kakani.
For example, R Central ward is conducting around 1,000 tests daily and has tied up with private labs to collect samples for rapid antigen testing in door-to-door surveys. “Our positivity rate has gone from 21% in July to 18.2% in September, which is a good sign,” said Kakani.
However, experts point to relaxation and violation lockdown norms as well as the recent gatherings for Ganeshotsav. Swapnil Tembwalkar, corporator from Goregaon, said, “Industries are opening up, which is attracting a large number of migrants from the neighbouring states. Thus, we are settling up testing facilities in several industrial areas.”
BMC has conducted over 1,050,000 tests for Covid-19, including rapid antigen and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
Almost 30 lakh people who were among close contacts of infected patients have been traced. Since end-August, BMC has increased its daily testing figures from 5,000 to an average of 12,000. Rapid antigen tests, which deliver results within 30 minutes, comprise almost 50% of the total daily testing in the city.
The civic body’s data suggests 60% of the new cases are from high-rise buildings. To reduce the spread of the infection from low-income areas, BMC has advised caution while allowing domestic help to return to work.
With the upcoming festival season, BMC expects Mumbai will cross 2.20 lakh cases by October 2. Experts raised concerns about careless behaviour among the public.
“People aren’t wearing masks or following social distancing which can cause a surge during Navratri next month,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant physician at Bombay Hospital and chief coordinator between private hospitals and BMC.