The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
A TOTAL of 23 learning institutions in Bulawayo have recorded Covid-19 cases since schools opened in September but officials said most have recovered and the situation was under control.
According to the Bulawayo City Council’s Health Services Department, there were 12 primary schools, 10 secondary schools and one tertiary institution that recorded cases between the end of third wave and Friday. The data showed that a total 113 contracted the diseases from the institutions, of which 53 percent were females and 49 percent males were affected.
“Of these 22 were teachers and 91 were learners. A total of 79 cases from 16 institutions of learning have since recovered and have been discharged from isolation.
“Contacts to the positive cases detected have also completed their 14 day quarantine, and have since been discharged from home quarantine. Robust efforts are underway to contain all the institutional outbreaks detected after the third surge,” said the department.
City Health Director Dr Edwin Sibanda said the situation was under control as they had immediately isolated the few cases at Thorngrove Hospital and later discharged them as they were asymptomatic. Dr Sibanda said those that had tested positive were admitted to Thorngrove Hospital not because they required hospitalisation but just for isolation purposes.
“Ideally we were supposed to isolate them at Elangeni Training Centre but the logistics involved with reopening that isolation centre are a bit cumbersome as it will also require more staff and resources hence we resorted to using Thorngrove which has the necessary staff and resources. However, all the cases are under control as they were isolated and later discharged for isolation at their homes because they were all asymptomatic,” said Dr Sibanda.
He said according to set guidelines they had carried out all the required contact tracing mechanisms inclusive of testing pupils at the affected school.
Meanwhile, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube has revealed that Bulawayo is now on 47,7 percent in terms of the city’s population that has vaccinated as it inches closer towards attaining herd immunity. Speaking during a 2022 pre-budget seminar that was held in Victoria Falls yesterday, Prof Ncube said the city, together with Matabeleland North Province were performing well in terms of the vaccination figures.
“As at 17 October 2021, about 3,2 million first doses had been administered, while 2,5 million people had received their second doses. The leading provinces are Bulawayo and Matabeleland North at 47,7 percent and 42,4 percent, respectively.
These figures translates to a national average of 37,9 percent for first dose and 29,1 percent for the second dose. At the end of September 2021, Government had spent about US$127 million towards procurement of almost 16,2 million vaccines and 16,2 million syringes. The target is to reach 60 percent herd immunity,” said Prof Ncube.
He further revealed that mobilisation of additional resources was underway to ensure that the target population is fully vaccinated.
“Government also acknowledges the support from Development Partners to complement efforts in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. By end of September, the country had received US$137,6 million and 1 085 000 vaccines from the Development Partners to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
“To mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Government is utilising the budget surplus of US$100 million from the previous year to procure vaccines to save lives and livelihoods,” said the Finance Minister.
According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, as of Friday the country recorded 48 new cases and one death with the cumulative total being pegged at 132 588 confirmed cases, including 126 978 recoveries and 4 663 deaths, with a total of 3 258 675 people have been vaccinated.