31 coronavirus recoveries for South Africa - Health Minister
Johannesburg - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that there have been 31 recoveries in South Africa so far as the battle to contain the ‘invisible enemy’, coronavirus, continues
The minister also clarified that there was just one coronavirus death, not two as the department had earlier claimed on Friday morning.
This means that out of South Africa's confirmed tally of 1170 infections, 31 have recovered from the virus, while just one person has been killed in a virus related death.
Worryingly, Mkhize said there were also four people in ICU because of the virus, with three of them requiring ventilation.
One of those in ICU was an 81-year-old grandmother in KZN, who had reported to hospital complaining of pneumonia from her old age home, only to be found to have the Covid-19 virus. She was tested after doctors thought her pneumonia was aggressive.
The minister also said there were 55 public and private hospitals in the country that had been identified to fight the virus. He said in terms of contact tracing, they had identified over 4400 people and successfully traced 3465 of those.
Mkhize warned that the virus had reached persons with underlying diseases and sounded a warning to the country.
“We therefore urge our citizens to be vigilant, protect themselves and not unnecessarily expose themselves by making contact with a lot of people.
“It is important to remain in your home, create a distance between yourself and anyone, including family members, that are unwell,” said the minister.
Mkhize said HIV positive people with a low CD4 count were vulnerable, along with people with chronic lung diseases including tuberculosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, chronic kidney disease and diabetes.
Mkhize said smokers and "dependent alcohol consumers" were also at risk.
“We encourage smokers to quit smoking and for those who drink alcohol, to do so moderately,” he said.
Mkhize has also warned that the elderly were a vulnerable group, like the KZN grandmother who was fighting for her life.
“To illustrate this, in KZN, one of the confirmed cases is an 81-year-old female who is now in ICU and on a ventilator. She initially presented with pneumonia and was admitted and treated as such. Because of the severity of the pneumonia, she was tested for Covid-19 and was confirmed. This elderly woman lives in an old age home,” he said.
Mkhize said all the elderly at the home were being tested and those who were confirmed positive, would be put in isolation.
Mkhize also said there had been an increase in the rate of internal transmissions.
"Patients without a history of travelling abroad have been detected in many provinces. The Free State province is such an example. The majority of the 61 patients infected arose from the church conference which had five international visitors who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.
“Amongst these, were various local church leaders who have since tested positive for Covid-19, thus making their own church members direct contacts. These church members have had to be screened and tested. The church leaders and members who were tested have since been put in quarantine.
“It must be noted that these confirmed cases in the Free State province are concentrated in Mangaung and this requires dedicated focus of interventions.
“All the above factors have emphasised the need to rapidly expand testing, early detection and early treatment. We are intensifying the offensive,” said Mkhize.IOL