Pune Has Maximum JN.1 Variant Cases, Maharashtra Covid Task Force Urges Five-Day Home Isolation for Positive Cases

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Pune, 4th January 2024: The Maharashtra state’s Covid task force is urging individuals who test positive for Covid-19 to undergo a five-day home isolation period. Additionally, they emphasize safeguarding the elderly members of the household through masking and maintaining physical distance. With recent New Year gatherings and festivities in mind, the task force experts have issued a caution, highlighting the significance of monitoring hospitalization and death trends over the next 15 days in various districts.

During the Tuesday meeting with health officials, the state task force proposed a series of recommendations on isolation, testing, and vaccination strategies to address the surge in the post-Covid era. The state is set to release a set of guidelines for citizens on Thursday. Despite a steady increase in cases from mid-December, possibly attributed to the JN.1 variant, there hasn’t been a proportional surge in hospital admissions or fatalities. Throughout December, the state reported only three confirmed coronavirus-related deaths.

Dr. Madhuri Kanitkar, Vice-Chancellor of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences and a task force member, assured that the current Covid situation is well within control. However, she emphasized the need to stay vigilant for the next two weeks, especially considering the large gatherings during the recent period. Dr. Kanitkar advised those testing positive for Covid to self-isolate at home for five days and recommended elderly individuals in the household wear masks.

The task force conveyed to the state that there is no urgency to vaccinate everyone. However, they suggest individuals who haven’t received a booster shot and are willing to do so. State officials mentioned having nearly 16,000 doses of the intranasal vaccine iNCOVACC available. Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar, Chairman of the task force, emphasized “preventive isolation” for vulnerable individuals, noting that most hospitalizations and deaths occurred in those with underlying health issues.

December witnessed a nearly 35-fold rise in weekly detections, escalating from 21 cases in the first week to 701 in the last week, primarily driven by the JN.1 variant. Pune leads in the count of 32 identified cases with that variant, and Gangakhedkar stated that most cases appeared mild.