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Alarm as Covid deaths mount in Omaheke

2021-06-28  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Alarm as Covid deaths mount in Omaheke

Omaheke residents should stick to the rules aimed at containing the coronavirus more closely than ever, regional director of health Jeremia Shikulo said yesterday.

Shikulo said in an interview with New Era that to prevent, control and suppress the further spread of Covid-19 in the region, residents should all abide to the regulations by wearing their masks, washing hands or sanitising, social distancing and avoiding crowded places and gatherings. “It is not easy to pinpoint the causes, but the prevalence of comorbidities like hypertension and diabetes, compounded by non-adherence to preventive measures as well as gatherings and limited access to sanitation facilities may be contributing factors,” he stressed.

Out of the 55 deaths and 1 007 cases recorded countrywide yesterday, Omaheke and the region’s capital Gobabis in particular recorded 22 deaths and 96 new cases. That is a relatively high number, considering the region’s population. Thirteen people died at home, while only nine died in hospital.

Shikulo said the increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases in the region has exerted pressure on the regional health directorate in terms of overstretching human resources, transport, isolation facilities and general healthcare services.

“The region has been handling the increase in cases by admitting and providing isolation/quarantine measures of confirmed and suspected cases at the high-care isolation facility and at the Kalahari Convention Centre,” he explained. He said to have space and human resources to attend to those critical cases which require more health services and to prevent the health facilities from being overwhelmed, they have now requested the public to minimise visits to the hospital and clinics, with the exception of those who are really sick.  “We continue with surveillance, contact tracing and testing, risk communication, community engagement and awareness raising,
the isolation/quarantine of confirmed and suspected cases, the provision of psychosocial support to patients, staff members and bereaved families, the monitoring and supervision of Covid-19 burials, recruitment of health professionals, and the acquisition of personal protective equipment, medical equipment, medical supplies as well as the Covid-19 vaccination campaign,” Shikulo stated. Meanwhile, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday said they have lately been recording a high number of people dying at home. He added that there is evidence of people using unproven home remedies, and thus urged the public to seek emergency medical care immediately when experiencing difficulties in breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, and an inability to wake up or stay awake.  “Do not wait until it is too late to be saved,” he stressed. Shangula also again advised citizens to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of serious Covid-19 illness and death, adding that the ministry continues reporting very high numbers of unvaccinated deaths. 

“It has been noted that when people get Covid-19 symptoms, it is the time they go for vaccination. Vaccines are not a treatment for Covid-19. In case of Covid-19 symptoms, the person must go to the hospital,” he said.

The health ministry yesterday announced a 30% positivity ratio. 

2021-06-28  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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