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Mpilo records increase in Covid-19 admissions

By Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu

Mpilo Central Hospital has recorded an increase in the number of admissions at its Covid-19 isolation ward with reports that some of the patients are dying either waiting to be tested or waiting for test results.

Covid-19 isolation ward at Mpilo Central Hospital, Bulawayo.
Covid-19 isolation ward at Mpilo Central Hospital, Bulawayo.

The isolation ward at Mpilo’s C1 was created for patients with Covid-19 symptoms who should be monitored and tested before they are transferred to the United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) if they test positive.

UBH is at the moment the only designated public health institution in the city which is supposed to admit all Covid-19 patients at its Old Bartley’s Memorial Block.

In September, the Mpilo isolation ward would have at most four people being admitted but the number now could be as high as 20.

The 30- bedded ward had 20 patients yesterday who are said to be stable as they await their Covid-19 test results.

Bulawayo is now the country’s Covid-19 epicentre and accounts for more than a third of the country’s active cases.

The city has recorded 2 888 cases, 2 244 recoveries, 559 active cases while the country’s total number of active cases is 1 495.

On Monday 112 new cases were recorded in the country and 52 of those were from Bulawayo.

Acting Mpilo chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said the increase in numbers was due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 in Bulawayo communities.

“We are used to monitoring four patients at most while they await their Covid-19 test results in one of our wards which we set up in September for such cases. The situation dramatically changed last week when the number went up to 12 and now we have 20 patients,” said Prof Ngwenya.

He said the isolation ward is supposed to be for patients under investigation and if they test positive to Covid-19 they are then transferred to UBH.

Prof Ngwenya said the increase in Covid-19 admissions had led to serious shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Some patients are dying while waiting for the test results and at the rate at which our cases are increasing, we fear being overwhelmed. We are also facing a serious shortage of personal protective equipment which means our health care workers are also at risk since we have many community infections,” he said.

Prof Ngwenya urged people to take the issue of protecting themselves against the pandemic very seriously.

He said people should use their phones to connect with family and friends instead of exposing themselves while partying and travelling unnecessarily.

Prof Ngwenya urged people to postpone weddings, parties and even political gatherings to save lives.

Meanwhile, 13 people are admitted at the UBH designated Covid-19 centre — The Old Bartley Memorial Block which is still under renovations.

As of yesterday, the 13 were said to be in a stable condition.

Acting UBH chief executive officer Mr Kelvin Kaseke said the hospital staff was coping well ever since the opening of the centre on December 5.

“We have been coping well and we have 13 patients who are stable within the BMB. Fortunately, none of our Covid-19 patients needs a ventilator as that can be a problem since we are still working on equipping the hospital,” he said.

Mr Kaseke said the hospital has adequate oxygen and drugs but needs PPE to ensure that staff members are protected.

“The doctors and nurses have been regularly monitoring our Covid-19 patients and we are hopeful that soon they will be discharged as they are stable,” said Mr kaseke. The Chronicle

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