The City’s health department is set to increase the number of its Rapid Response Teams, as it steps up efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, in Bulawayo.
Bulawayo currently has five rapid response teams that have been set up to coordinate an urgent active response to deal with the virus.
The rapid response teams have so far, since February 2020, investigated over 200 suspected COVID-19 cases within the city.
Speaking at a donation held at Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital Tuesday, City of Bulawayo’s Assistant Director of Health Services, Dr Khulamuzi Nyathi, confirmed the development, saying it was necessary to deal with the fast-spreading virus effectively and urgently.
“As a department there are several activities which we are doing. Most people now know of the rapid response teams that assist with residents. The teams have investigated over 200 scares. When people call us, the rapid response teams go to those houses and investigate the suspected cases,” he said.
He noted that the rapid response teams have collected 196 specimens for COVID-19 testing, of which 186 were negative.
“The rapid response teams started working in February. Initially, we had one team, moved to two teams and we have been increasing as the demand goes up. We now have five teams and we are working on increasing to seven teams. This is to provide as much services as we can to the community of Bulawayo,” Dr Nyathi said.
Dr Nyathi added there were other complementary teams such as surveillance teams that follow up on people who come into the country from other places.
“Of the 1 774 visitors that came in, our surveillance teams have followed up on 1 693 of the people. At least 1 686 of those have been cleared leaving 88 who are still being followed,” he said.
The health official said the city had other teams working round the clock to educate, alert and motivate Bulawayo residents.
“We have other teams such as the risk communication and education committee, who are the ones going around giving health messages. There are other teams such as the disinfection team, the logistics team and so on.”
Dr Nyathi stressed that residents need to stay at home as that was one of the effective preventative measures against coronavirus.
“People who do not have anything to do outside your homes and if you are not in essential services please stay at home. If you do not move the virus does not spread but if you move and go to a place where somebody has a virus, you may contract it.
“If you stay at home, the virus will not come to your house. You are encouraged to wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap or sanitisers to disinfect often. Practice cough etiquette -when coughing do so into your flexed elbow. These are the messages we must share all the time to families and other people,” urged the city health officials.