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Bulawayo contains Covid-19 so far

by Staff reporter
27 Apr 2020 at 23:33hrs | Views
BULAWAYO has not recorded any Covid-19 positive cases for almost two weeks, bringing relief to residents and health authorities after the city briefly became the epicentre of the virus.

The city first recorded a positive case on April 8 and by April 15 the cases had risen to 10.

Five of the cases were recorded in a single day on April 15, a time when Bulawayo had the most cases in the country followed by Harare which then had eight cases. As of yesterday morning, the city still remained with 10 positive cases, going for 12 days with no recorded positive case.

Harare was topping the list with 13 positive cases out of the 31 cases recorded nationally. Although the country's first case was confirmed on March 20, 2020 and involved a 38-year-old male from Victoria Falls who had returned from the United Kingdom, he self-isolated at home and so far, none of his contacts have tested positive.

That patient is among the country's five recovered cases, with four others from Mashonaland East Province. Eight of Bulawayo's cases could be traced to patient 11, the late Ian Hyslop (79) who lived at Qalisa Retirement Village before his death at Mater Dei Hospital, making him the first person to succumb to the virus in the city after being in contact with a United Kingdom tourist.

The other positive case at Qalisa, a 79-year-old woman is said to have also met the UK tourist. For now, the city appears to have managed to prevent further local transmissions which were threatening efforts to flatten the curve to ensure that cases remain at manageable levels to avoid overwhelming local health facilities and personnel.

Health officials say contact tracing and the lockdown has helped the city "forestall a disaster for now". Also, police in Bulawayo have been arresting those violating the lockdown and the city has the highest number of those arrested so far.

Council has also been pulling down vending stalls and clamping vehicles whose owners have no authority to be in the central business district as part of efforts to prevent large gatherings in the city.

In a telephone interview, acting Bulawayo provincial medical director Dr Welcome Mlilo yesterday commended Bulawayo City Council's contact tracing team for a sterling job which he said was critical in controlling the spread of the virus. He said the number of confirmed Covid-19 positive cases in Bulawayo remained at 10.

"In terms of contact tracing, Bulawayo City health is doing a great job and is tracing the contacts of the cases that have been diagnosed to date. Contact tracing is an ongoing process and the Rapid Response Teams are going about this on a daily basis," said Dr Mlilo.

"All Covid-19 cases in Bulawayo are now being managed at home. These cases are being followed up and managed at home until recovery. They're all stable and doing well. Health care workers are making follow up visits to ensure that self-isolation protocols are adhered to. Health Education is being provided to the patients which improves adherence to self-isolation protocols. We are also working closely with the relevant government authorities in this regard."

He said to ensure that Covid-19 is not discovered after death, the Ministry of Health and Child Care was stepping up screening and training of health workers.

"The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) has stepped up screening and testing for Covid-19. Once we have enough data, then we can appreciate how well we are doing in terms of performance in managing the pandemic. This will also give guidance on the next steps and measures to be taken," he said.

He said the ministry's thrust on training was focused on health care worker trainings on surveillance and contact tracing, case management, infection prevention and control. Dr Mlilo said the training is ongoing with more training scheduled this week and support was being rendered by multiple partners in the private sector.

"A number of different organisations like WHO, Save the children, MSF are partnering with MOHCC and the local authority to cascade these trainings to health workers. ZITF management under the leadership of the chairman Busisa Moyo has supported the MOHCC through availing the ZITF facilities for these trainings," said Dr Mlilo.

Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said Bulawayo's Covid-19 cases remain subdued due to the lockdown. He warned that Bulawayo is not out of the woods yet.

Dr Ngwenya said if it were not for the lockdown announced by President Mnangagwa, positive cases in Bulawayo could be spiralling out of control.

 "Remember we recorded our first case when we already had implemented the national lockdown. So, this has enabled the city's rapid response team to effectively trace suspected cases and contain them.

"They have managed to test cases containing local transmission. If we were not on lockdown, we could have recorded thousands of cases as most of our people are not observing social distancing," said Dr Ngwenya.

Source - chroncile