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Bulawayo Covid-19 hospitalisation rises

by Staff reporter
13 Dec 2021 at 07:01hrs | Views
THE number of Covid-19 hospitalised patients countrywide has started rising with statistics indicating that there were 260 in hospital on Friday up from only 17 cases a fortnight ago.

Bulawayo's four major health institutions had 64 hospitalised people yesterday.

At Mpilo Central Hospital there were 14 patients, United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) had 20 cases, Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital had 23 cases while Ekusileni Medical Centre had admitted seven patients.

Health experts said although the number of hospitalised cases is rising, hospitals were still coping with no life-threatening cases so far.

On Saturday, the country had 3 004 new cases and six Covid-19 related deaths with Bulawayo recording three deaths and 390 new infections.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care daily report, as of Saturday, the country had recorded 165 002 cases, 129 562 recoveries and 4  735 deaths since March last year. Active cases rose to 30 705 from 2 843 in 10 days.

In view of the fourth wave, which the new variant, Omicron, seems to aggravate, President Mnangagwa recently announced new lockdown measures.

Some of those measures include mandatory 10-day quarantine for all returning residents and visitors. The new regulations stipulate that everyone entering Zimbabwe must undergo a Covid-19 PCR test even when they produce a Covid-19 free certificate from elsewhere.

Even if negative they should go into mandatory quarantine at their own cost in a facility designated by the Government.

The President's address was in response to reports of a new strain of Covid-19 virus which has been reported in many countries in Sadc and beyond.

Omicron has a high number of mutations, 32, in its spike protein, and preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection, when compared with other variants of concern.

Bulawayo Provincial Medical Director Maphios Siamuchembu attributed the increase in hospitalisation to the rising number of new infections.

"The number of people who are testing positive for Covid-19 has increased because we are now in the fourth wave effectively. It is therefore, expected that if the number of infections increases more people will also get moderate disease and probably severe disease," he said.

"However, as it stands right now, we have an increase in the number of people with mild and moderate disease and not so many with severe symptoms."

Dr Siamuchembu said in light of the increase in hospitalisations, which are parallel to the number of infections, they are already preparing for any eventuality.

"While we are glad to note that there are not so many severe cases so far in Bulawayo metropolitan province, our institutions have started preparing in case of an increase in the number of severe cases and we are ready for any eventuality," he said.

"The hospitals handling severe cases are UBH extension of Arundel Hospital. However, we have Mpilo Central Hospital, Ekusileni as well as Thorngrove on the Government side that handle mild to moderate disease. We also have Mater Dei Hospital on the private side, which are also able to admit severe cases as well."

Dr Siamuchembu urged people to get vaccinated to help fight the spread of the coronavirus and protect themselves.

"The largest weapon we have scientifically at the moment is vaccination. I continue to urge Bulawayo residents to get vaccinated. Although vaccination doesn't stop the transmission of the virus, it reduces the severity of the disease, hospital admission and of course the number of deaths," he said.

UBH acting chief executive officer Dr Harrison Rambanapasi said as of yesterday 20 patients had been admitted at their Covid-19 unit, five of which have severe symptoms.

"Over the last one-and-a-half weeks, we have seen an increase in the number of patients that are being admitted with Covid-19.

"We have also seen an increase in our positivity rate, which was hovering at around above 27 percent and that is a huge figure," he said.

"Basically, when we are talking about positivity rate, we will be referring to the number of those that we would have tested and turn out to be positive. Currently we have a total of 20 patients admitted to our Arundel Extension of UBH, which has been designated Covid-19 unit."

Dr Rambanapasi said out of the 20 patients, 15 have mild symptoms.

"We are not really worried about the 15 patients with mild symptoms and they are admitted because of other issues such as diabetes and those admitted for pregnancy related issues.

Five of them are moderate which means probably they are on nasal prong oxygen and having a little bit of difficulty in breathing. We have no one admitted with severe symptoms and on a ventilator," he said.

Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said they have been witnessing an increase in hospitalisation with 14 patients admitted as of yesterday while five are still under investigations.

"We are seeing an increase in the number of admissions for Covid-19. Two weeks ago, they had actually closed our Covid-19 ward because there were no patients, but currently we have 14 and our bed capacity is 32 and very soon we are going to be overflowing," he said.

"Most of those patients admitted are pregnant women testing positive while coming to give birth."

City health director Dr Edwin Sibanda said as of yesterday Thorngrove Hospital had admitted 23 Covid-19 patients with a majority showing mild symptoms.

"Of course, there is a rise in admission of Covid-19 patients, but the number of those in need of critical care is still very low compared to the previous wave.

In the last wave you would have up to 50 percent or so in need of oxygen, but right now you will have a lot of people in hospital but less than 10 percent requiring oxygen," he said.

Acting chief executive officer for the Ekusileni Medical Centre Dr Absolom Dube said yesterday they had seven patients.

"People are being admitted and some are also being discharged. We are still fairly managing and we haven't received any deaths so far. As of this morning we had seven patients and all of them had moderate symptoms, which is not life threatening.

Source - The Chronicle