Sunday, 31 May 2020


TWO Covid-19 asymptomatic patients are stranded after Elangeni Training Centre in Bulawayo, which was initially identified as an isolation centre was closed, it has been learnt.

The two have now opted to self-isolate at home while the Bulawayo City Health Department is frantically working to identify an alternative isolation centre. Asymptomatic patients are those that have tested positive but are showing no symptoms.

Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni in his weekly Covid-19 city update revealed that Elangeni had since been closed as an isolation centre for asymptomatic patients, a development that has created a crisis in case management in the city.

The other facilities which may be used as isolation centres but mainly for symptomatic patients are Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital and Ekusileni Medical Centre.

Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital is still undergoing renovations while efforts are being made to raise funds that would see the eventual re-opening of Ekusileni Medical Centre. The city has five active Covid-19 cases with nine recoveries and one death.

“For the first 12 cases, a total of 668 contacts were followed up, of which 610 (91 percent) have completed the 21-day follow-up period. The Gene Xpert platform is being capacitated. At least 1 234 specimens have been sent to the laboratory for real time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing and 1 166 (95 percent) processed and only 68 results were pending.

“The city had nine new recoveries that is, they have had at least two RT-PCR respiratory specimens testing negative. Two cases are asymptomatic and the city is in the process of identifying an isolation facility for these cases.

“With Elangeni isolation/quarantine being deactivated for positive but not ill cases means there is an urgent need for the identification of a new isolation centre for asymptomatic cases,” said Clr Mguni.
The mayor said the city was experiencing a limited ability to continue testing, with delays in receiving results hence the need to capacitate more laboratories to test for Covid-19 using PCR or GeneXpert.

“There is also inadequate human resources in the city, should the cases increase in numbers and for testing, which is why there is a need to expedite secondment of 15 nurses and laboratory staff to BCC.

“The Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have been active since February 2020 and have been following up rumours of possible suspected cases of Covid-19 and presently have followed up more than 355 cases.

“They have submitted specimens from 1 234 people that fit the case definition to laboratories for tests to detect the virus,” he said.

Clr Mguni revealed that to date the number of travellers that came into Bulawayo to their homes was 2 764, of which 2 726 travellers had since been followed up by RRT teams in Bulawayo.

He said of the 2 764 travellers 874 were returnees from outside the country who passed through Bulawayo Polytechnic College (422) and the United College of Education (452).
“In Health Surveillance the implementation of protective factors to reduce the general risk of transmission is ongoing.

“These include activities such as active case finding, intensified shop inspections, health education on key messages that include self-isolation, social distancing, and hygiene practices; with special emphasis on the importance of staying at home.

“Shops in the Central Business District are still being monitored to encourage social distancing among customers, checking if sanitisers or that hand washing facilities are available at entry points as well as to educate on the risks of contracting Covid-19,” said Clr Mguni.

Relating to the rehabilitation works at Thorngrove and Ekusileni hospitals, Clr Mguni said council was still working at the sites with the outstanding works at Thorngrove including the electrifications to light internal roads and walkways, extension of the laundry, among other aspects. Sunday News


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