On May 4, the Kolhapur district collector in Maharashtra announced a strict lockdown for 10 days due to the growing number of COVID-19 infections. The day before, a similar lockdown had been announced in Sangli district. These two districts are located in western Maharashtra. Marathwada, Beed and Parbhani are already stranded. Yet the numbers continue to rise in 16 districts of Maharashtra, causing serious concern to the state administration.

The situation is such that the chief secretary of Maharashtra wrote to Indian cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, asking him to increase the state’s oxygen quota by 200 tonnes per day. The letter cited 16 districts including Palghar, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Nandurbar, Beed, Parbhani, Hingoli, Amravati, Buldhana, Wardha, Gadchiroli and Chandrapur which are witnessing a daily increase in COVID cases. -19.

Letter from the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra to the Secretary of the Cabinet of India.

Meanwhile, in Mumbai and surrounding cities, the daily increase in new cases under the second wave of the pandemic appears to have slowed. While in the first wave eight municipalities, including Mumbai, reported the highest number of casualties, after about 15 days after the start of the second wave, the pandemic crisis hit rural areas of Maharashtra hard.

On May 4, the state reported 51,880 new patients, bringing the total number of those infected to 6,63,758. Of these, 78,884 are on oxygen and 24,878 are in intensive care. Tuesday’s death toll was 891, and the total death toll so far is 71,742, making it the state with the most casualties in the pandemic’s ongoing second wave. As the crisis in rural Maharashtra worsens, the health system is under even greater strain.

Relatives of Lavu Sarang from Sukalwad village of Malwan tehsil in Sindhudurg district were looking for a ventilation bed after testing positive for COVID-19 and his health worsened. Although his home is only 10 km from the district headquarters, he was unable to access a ventilator due to the scarcity of beds. Later, his relatives transferred him to the neighboring district of Kolhapur where he was eventually admitted to a private hospital.

“There wasn’t even a single ventilation bed available in the whole district. We called all the private hospitals. So we had no choice but to take risks and bring the patient to Kolhapur, traveling four hours away, ”said Umesh Sarang, from Lavu. cadet.

The situation is just as bad in the other small districts and remote towns of Maharashtra. People would be unable to access intensive care beds, ventilators, oxygen, Remdesivir injections, etc. With the state reporting over 50,000 new cases a day, the state government is struggling to keep the health care system running.

The government has instructed district collectors to establish new COVID-19 centers at the village level. In Chandrapur, 865 villagers have been urged to create isolation centers and smaller COVID-19 centers where patients without severe discomfort can be treated locally.

Dattatraya Kadu Patil, a retired government officer, opened a 50-bed COVID-19 care center in his hometown Deolali Pravara, Rahuri tehsil of Ahmednagar. He took permission from the tehsil chief to start this center. “In two days all the beds were full. Patients with mild symptoms are admitted here. So far a total of 80 patients have been cured and returned home. The center is still full,” Patil said. . NewsClick by telephone.

Meanwhile, the state government has asked people to strictly follow lockdown regulations. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Chief Deputy Minister Ajit Pawar said: “We are building infrastructure everywhere. District collectors and guardian ministers have been urged to take all necessary measures. But we also call on people to do not leave their homes unnecessarily. virus, we will have to restrict all possible activities. “