The number of Covid-19 cases shot above the 70,000-mark in Maharashtra on Monday even as the state notched a fresh death toll of 76, down by 40 from the highest 116 deaths recorded on May 29, health officials said.
In a major development, Thane district with 9,941 cases has become the second worst-hit in the state, overtaking Pune district's tally of 8,045 cases.
Monday's toll includes a whopping 60 deaths in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region alone -- the worst-hit in the country. The state reported 2,361 new cases on Monday.
This comes to roughly one death every 19 minutes, and an average 98 new cases notched every hour in the state.
Maharashtra has been recording 75-plus fatalities and over 2K new patients daily for the past one week, with the previous highest figures of 3,041 infections notched on May 24.
With 76 fatalities, the state's death toll has touched 2,362 while the total number of coronavirus patients increased from Sunday's 67,655 to 70,013 on Monday.
The health department said that of the total number of cases declared till date, 37,534 were active cases', increasing by 1,503 over Sunday's 36,031.
The state recorded a recovery rate of 43 per cent while the mortality (death) rate remained unchanged at 3.37 per cent.
In the past three months, the state has built an impressive rate of recoveries from March 31 (12.91 per cent) to April 30 (16.88 per cent) to May 31 (43.35 per cent).
Of the total 76 fatalities on Monday, 40 were recorded in Mumbai alone, taking the city's death toll up from Sunday's 1,279 to 1,319 now, while the number of Covid-19 positive patients here shot up by 1,413 cases to touch 41,099.
Besides Mumbai's 40 deaths, there were 15 fatalities in Thane (Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Mira-Bhayander), 9 in Pune, 3 each in Palghar and Aurangabad, 2 in Raigad, and one each in Nashik, Jalna, Beed and Nagpur.
The victims comprised 45 men and 37 women, and nearly 67 per cent of them suffered from other serious ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and asthma.
On the positive side, a total of 779 fully cured patients returned home on Sunday, taking the number of those discharged to 30,108.
In an important measure, the state government has set up a special 200-bed hospital with oxygen supply to all the beds in Mumbai's top hotspot Dharavi, Asia's biggest slum, which will be operational from Tuesday, state Home Minister Rajesh Tope said.
The hospital -- with 10 doctors, 15 nurses, other support staff, CCTV coverage, thermal sensors and other amenities -- was set up in just two weeks, said Brihanmumbai Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal.
The MMR (Thane Division) continued to cause grave concerns for the authorities with 1,608 deaths and 53,259 positive cases.
Though trailing a distant third after Mumbai, Pune Division's fatalities touched 424, besides 9,505 positive cases.
The next major area of concern is Nashik Division with 164 deaths and 2,178 positive cases, followed by Aurangabad Division with 70 fatalities and 1,925 cases, and Akola Division with 48 deaths and 1,036 cases.
There's also Latur Division with 11 deaths and 371 cases, Kolhapur Division with 10 deaths and 918 patients, and Nagpur Division with 12 deaths and 761 cases.
Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine increased from Sunday's 558,100 to 567,552 on Monday, while those in institutional quarantine increased by 1,709 to 34,480.
In another bit of relieving news, as many as 72,704 beds are currently available for quarantine in the state.
The state's containment zones increased from 3,157 to 3,294 on Monday while 18,674 health teams have carried out a survey of a population of around 70.6 lakh in the state.
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