Diabetes, hypertension most common comorbidities in Western Cape among Covid-19 deaths

The field hospital set up in Khayelitsha. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

The field hospital set up in Khayelitsha. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 2, 2020


The majority of Covid-19-positive people who have died in the Western Cape have had one or more comorbidities, the provincial Department of Health said on Tuesday.  

This was according to data reviewed on May 26 (403 deaths at the time) – the death toll has since risen to 521. The Western Cape has by far the highest number of deaths and coronavirus cases in the country.

Comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional diseases or conditions occurring with a primary medical condition. The most prevalent comorbidities in deaths due to Covid-19 across all age groups were diabetes and hypertension. 

With the country having eased to lockdown level 3 this week, the department has urged all residents to continue to do their part in protecting the vulnerable members of society from becoming infected with the coronavirus.

People with existing comorbidities are more at risk of being severely ill if they contract Covid-19, the department said. Those most at risk include individuals with comorbidities at any age and those who are 55 years and older, with or without co-morbidities.

Data supplied by the Western Cape Department of Health


"The successful management of comorbidities depends on the type of condition the person has. It is therefore imperative that vulnerable residents take extra precautions," the department said.

"Staying home is the best way to reduce the risk of infection, strictly abide by the golden, including frequent hand-washing and other hygiene measures and keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres from any other person. 


"We also call upon the broader society to assist in protecting these vulnerable groups by keeping their distance and offering to do tasks for them that require them to go into public." 


The department offered tips to manage comorbidities to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection:

• Avoid gatherings (crowded places) by staying at home

• Continue with your treatment

• Maintain a healthy lifestyle and eating habits, exercise regularly 

• Reduce personal exposure to tobacco smoke

• Control your blood pressure

• Wear a cloth mask and always follow the golden rules of good hygiene (a mask alone is not enough).


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