Zimbabwe Lockdown: Day 489 – WCoZ Situation Report

489 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 30th July 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 107 490 after 1 834 new cases, all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 445 cases. The hotspots updates are as follows: Mashonaland West Province – Hurungwe (30), Kariba (8), Zvimba (30), Mashonaland Central – Bindura (37), Mazowe (34). Mashonaland East- Marondera (64), Murehwa (32). Masvingo Province – Bikita (13), Chiredzi (24), Masvingo (63). Bulawayo Province – Nkulumane (15), Emakhandeni (28) and Northern Suburbs (59), Harare Province (445).

We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on the 29th of July 2021 was 757 hospitalised cases: 95 new admissions, 212 asymptomatic cases, 412 mild-to-moderate cases, 97 severe cases and 36 cases in Intensive Care Units. Muzuri, St Ruperts and Gweru Provincial hospitals did not report yesterday.

Active cases went up to 29 498. The total number of recoveries went up to 74 562 increasing by 1 168 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 69%. A total of 30 218 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 1 623 875. A total of 21 109 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 751 487. The death toll went up to 3 490 after 69 new deaths were recorded.

Critical Emerging Issues

Lack of PPE at Vaccine Centres 

We are alarmed by the lack of adequate PPE for frontline workers at vaccine centres who are administering the vaccines to very high numbers of people. We also note that frontline workers are attending to persons who have no evidence of their COVID-19 status at the time they present themselves for vaccination. We further draw attention to the inconsistency in masks worn by frontline workers. We are concerned by frontline workers who at times, have been observed without masks. 

We are further concerned by the thin plastic aprons worn by frontline workers, with no other comprehensive PPE, as they attend to large numbers of people during the third wave with a highly transmissible virus. In some distressing instances, our networks report inconsistencies in the wearing of gloves by frontline workers. In summary, we are concerned for the frontline health workers themselves who are clearly at very high risk of exposure. 

  • We therefore reiterate the prioritisation of the safety of frontline workers, in particular staffers at vaccine centres who have a direct impact on infection control.
  • We urge the provision of adequate PPE to frontline workers serving at all vaccine centres.

Outstanding issues 

Long COVID-19 in Zimbabwe

Noting, with commendation, the high rate of recoveries in Zimbabwe, we call on our medical communities and the public to increase awareness around “Long COVID” a phenomenon experienced by both severe and mild COVID-19 patients who continue to experience negative health experiences weeks and months after they have been marked as recovered. We highlight ongoing research findings, which indicate that Long-COVID-19 sufferers must receive support and that government should increase the training of the healthcare workers on the phenomenon. 

We further highlight, for critical attention, medical sector reports that indicate that Long-COVID-19 has been found in persons who had not been tested or recorded as positive for COVID-19 initially and in persons who had not been hospitalised at all.

  • We reiterate our calls for the Ministry of Health and Child Care, through the COVID-19 Treatment and management Committee, to update the nation on the tracing and treatment of patients with Long COVID-19 in Zimbabwe. 
  • We continue to call for the support of the development of rehabilitation programs to those experiencing Long COVID.
  • We support calls for direct support to the development of community-based responses or programs for Long COVID especially as COVID-19 has become a largely home-based care illness in the country with devastating consequences for communities. 
  • We support calls for the expansion of access to health services for Long COVID to marginalized or impoverished populations.
  • We amplify calls for clear announcements on contemporary research in management and treatment practices for Long COVID in the discipline of General Medicine, Psychiatry, Psychology and Physiotherapy.

Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

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