THE death toll ascribed to COVID-119 in Namibia has increased sharply with a new record number of 13 more fatalities that were reported on Tuesday.
This brings the number of fatalities reported since Sunday to 20 and the cumulative number reported since the start of the pandemic to 235.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula announced the deaths of an 81-year-old man, a 44-year-old man, a 36-year-old man, a 52-year-old man, a 90-year-old woman, a 74-year-old woman, and a 46-year-old man, a 50-year-old man, a 64-year-old man, 51-year-old man, a 53-year-old woman, a 73-year-old man and that of a 29-year-old woman.
He said the first seven fatalities occurred in the Windhoek health district while two occurred in Gobabis. The four remaining fatalities were recorded in Rehoboth, Oshakati, Walvis Bay, and Keetmanshoop respectively.
Dr. Shangula said the emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV2 and its higher speed of transmission in some countries is cause for great concern.
“Our neighbour, South Africa, recently detected a new SARS-CoV-2 variant, which appears to transmit more easily and is likely linked to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 infections in that country. Namibia currently has no data about these new variants, the health ministry is conducting whole genomic sequencing analysis to identify these variants,” he said.
The health minister also announced that 432 more people had positive test results from a specimen batch of 1 648 over the past 24 hours.
The Windhoek health district registered 208 new cases while Oshakati also recorded a sharp surge with 48 new cases, 29 were registered in Lüderitz, 28 in Swakopmund, 24 in Gobabis, 13 in Karasburg, 12 each in Walvis Bay and Katima Mulilo, ten in Eenhana, nine in Rundu, eight each in Keetmanshoop and Omuthiya, seven in Otjiwarongo, six in Okahandja, four in Tsumeb, two in Rehoboth, and one each in Usakos, Okakarara, Mariental, and Outjo.
He said that 42% of the new patients had contact with confirmed active cases and that 64% of the new cases had symptoms associated with COVID-19 at the time of submitting specimens for testing.
The health minister said 29 of the new cases are healthcare workers of which 16 are from Windhoek, four from Oshakati, two each from Gobabis and Omuthiya, and one each from Rundu, Swakopmund, Tsumeb, Otjiwarongo, and Karasburg.
According to Dr. Shangula, there are 289 people that had to be admitted to the various hospitals for treatment of which 38 are receiving critical care in the different intensive care units.
He also announced the recovery of 423 patients which means that 3881 active cases are still under the care and management of healthcare officials.
Dr. Shangula said that public health measures such as the correct wearing of face covers, hand washing or sanitization, social and physical distancing, refraining from public gatherings and non-essential trips are crucial to limit the current rapid spread of COVID-19 among people.