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Impact of the pandemic is grave

Impact of the pandemic is grave

Niël Terblanché


THE number of new positive COVID-19 cases in Namibia has reached levels never before seen and the situation is threatening to overrun health facilities dedicated to the care of hospitalised patients.


Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, the Minister of Health and Social Services while addressing the nation from State House on Wednesday said that the impact of the pandemic in Namibia has become grave.


“The statistics since the beginning of December are staggering. The greatest concern is the fact that the cases are spread countrywide. The number of hospital admissions has sky-rocketed, both in public and private sector facilities, almost outstripping available hospital beds,” he said.


According to Dr. Shangula, the fact that most Namibians from all parts of the country, have consistently failed, and are still failing, to adhere to preventive measures put in place to suppress the spread of the pandemic is the greatest cause of the grave situation.


“Putting it bluntly, failure to comply is putting people at risk of infection and it is a gamble with the lives of all Namibians,” he said.


Later on Wednesday Dr. Shagula announced the latest COVID-9 statistics and said that 355 people had positive test results from a specimen batch of 1 773 that was analysed by laboratories. At 20%, the positivity ratio is still very high.


The Windhoek health district again registered the highest number of new cases. Of the 355 new cases, 151 people from Windhoek had positive test results while 41 people in Lüderitz, 40 in Swakopmund, 37 in Walvis Bay, 32 in Otjiwarongo, 14 in Okahandja, eight in Usakos, six in Khorixas, four each in Oshakati, Tsumeb, and Gobabis, three in Mariental, two each in Omaruru, Rundu, and Andara, and one each in Karasburg, Rehoboth, and Katima Mulilo also tested positive.


He said the gender distribution of the new cases is 198 women and 157 men of which the youngest patient is a two-month-old baby and the oldest is a 90-year-old pensioner.


“Of the total new confirmed cases, 39% are contacts of confirmed cases while 222 people displayed symptoms associated with COVID-19 at the time of testing,” he said.


The health minister indicated that the number of people in need of critical care in the various Intensive care Units increased to 36. These patients are part of the 220 patients currently hospitalised.


Dr. Shangula also announced the death of two more people. He said a 61-year-old man from Windhoek and a 56-year-old man from Okahandja, who both had known co-morbidities, passed away.


The latest fatalities ascribed to COVID-19 brought the cumulative number of deaths to 183.


The health minister also announced the recovery of 575 patients. The high number of recoveries caused the number of active cases to reduce to 2 906.


“We again urge the public to abide by the public health measures announced this morning on public gatherings, restriction of movement, sale of alcohol, the compulsory and correct wearing of face masks in public places which includes people travelling in vehicles and aircraft,” he implored.


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