Some of these cases were detected as early as April but their genome sequencing results arrived only last week, putting the spotlight again on the long turnaround between actual infection and analysis.
The two Delta-plus cases in Mumbai had tested positive for Covid as early as April 5 and April 15, suggesting that the variant has been lurking in the city for over two months. One is a Thane resident who was treated in Mumbai, while the other is a 78-year-old man. A majority of those affected by Delta-plus, including the Mumbai resident, were not vaccinated.
Civic officials said the senior citizen recovered well and has no complaints at present. A family member, who too had tested positive, has recovered too. “We will keep an eye on them for any developments, but beyond that there is nothing much to do since they had Covid nearly two-and-half months ago,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner.
Delta-plus cases were found in six districts of Maharashtra, with the most detected in Ratnagiri (9) and Jalgaon (7). Although most had Covid in May, some districts have begun fresh surveillance near their residences. Jalgaon, for instance, held a camp on June 12 and 13 where 165 people were tested with RT-PCR. Two persons were positive but asymptomatic. Sindhudurg, with one case of Delta-plus, will test the entire residential complex of six buildings where the individual resides.
All seven Jalgaon patients hail from a single village, Vichkheda, with a population of 1,200. These individuals had tested positive during an RT-PCR camp held on May 5. An electrician in his 60s, who tested positive, had attended a wedding at Chalisgaon. A milk distributor’s wife was also affected but not her husband. Two people had travelled to Surat for jewellery work while one person had a travel history to Thane, said Dr D S Potode, assistant district health officer. “It is important to note here that all remained asymptomatic and we didn’t see any unusual rise in transmission there,” he said.
The district is currently reporting 40-50 cases daily, of which fewer than 10 are from the rural parts. In the second wave, Jalgaon was the first district in north Maharashtra to register a surge this March.
In Sindhudurg, a teacher is among those affected. District officials said he had tested positive on May 22 and has since recovered. In this case though, all three high-risk contacts had also contracted Covid. But all recovered at home without complications, said Dr Mahesh Khalipe, adding that they would be testing 225 residents, including the family again.
State surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate said they are gathering information about these cases, including the symptoms, severity of disease and vaccination status. There will also be surveillance of influenza-like illnesses in the vicinity.
Delta-plus (AY.1) has mutated from the highly infectious Delta (B.1.617.2), that was first detected in India, and is believed to have driven the second wave.