The Maharashtra government plans to put most of the new COVID-19 patients in institutional isolation instead of home quarantine, officials said on Wednesday.
The intention was to avoid the patients’ family members catching the infection, said Dr Archana Patil, director of health services, state health department.
“The government has therefore asked all district collectors to increase the number of beds (in isolation centres),” she told PTI.
Dr Patil clarified that this did not mean that active COVID-19 patients who are in home isolation at present would be shifted to government facilities.
“The plan is to admit most of the new COVID-19 cases in institutional quarantine,” she said.
Another top health official said, “The government has asked the districts with higher positivity rate to ramp up their capacity to accommodate more patients for treatment.”
During the second wave of the pandemic which began in March, patients with mild symptoms could stay at home, but in many cases this led to their family members catching the viral infection, officials said.
Talking about vaccination, Dr Patil said the pace was very slow due to the limited supply of doses.
“Today we received some nine lakh vials of Covishield from the Serum Institute of India. This stock would be exhausted in the next couple of days,” she said.
The shortage of vaccines was also a factor which led the government to put stress on institutional quarantine, she said.
“With institutional quarantine, we hope to bring down the rate of infection,” Dr Patil added.
The state government imposed strict restrictions on people’s movements and businesses from April 14. The COVID-19 cases in the state have now fallen from 60,000-plus per day in April to below 20,000.