The City Health’s Department will conduct retests for all the COVID-19 patients in Bulawayo to see if they would have recovered from the disease.
Bulawayo has 10 positive confirmed cases including one death, that of Case 11, 79-year-old Ian Hyslop.
The city is yet to register a recovery.
In an interview with CITE on how the city’s patients were fairing, Director of Health Services in Bulawayo, Dr Edwin Sibanda, confirmed that as of this week, health officials would conduct fresh COVID-19 tests to check if any patient had recovered.
“We are going to test all of them (nine patients). Samples (for Polymerase Chain Reaction -PCR testing) were collected, I think from two patients yesterday and we will make sure that by this week, all of them are re-tested. The re-testing is done to see those that are still positive for COVID-19. Then those whose results are negative would have recovered and will be declared cured or recovered,” he noted.
Dr Sibanda said the nine patients were not showing any symptoms.
“The patients have no symptoms at all. All of the cases except the first one that died. Including the four-year-old, the younger you are the less symptoms you are likely to exhibit which is why the danger is in the old people’s homes.
“The patients don’t have any complaints because we visit or phone them regularly to receive an update or to see and hear how they are doing. Those that have challenges are free to phone us if they face any challenge,” he said.
DR Sibanda explained that since coronavirus was almost like flu, none of the patients was on medication.
“There’s no medication, this is a virus, just imagine yourself with a flu – you always recover. This disease is just one of those flues that’s what COVID -19 is. Most flues are coronaviruses anyway. So it’s your own immune system fighting the virus. This is why over 80 percent of the people recover with nothing and some recover without even knowing they had the coronavirus or even transmit it without even knowing,” he said.
Due to such complexities, Dr Sibanda said this was why the concept of putting on a mask is the best option.
“Such that if you have COVID-19, and you don’t know, you won’t be able to transmit it,” he said.
The health director noted the social welfare department was supplying the patients with food provisions, as they were to stay indoors.
“The social welfare has their addresses and we have the security people to make sure they don’t leave their places of residence,” Dr Sibanda said.
Nationally, Zimbabwe has 32 confirmed cases, with five recoveries and four deaths.
The source of COVID-19 transmission in Bulawayo was the United Kingdom, as persons who travelled from there contacted Case 11 (since deceased), Case 14 and Case 15.
The virus then spread locally as Case 11 had contact with Case 16, a health worker and probably Case 17 who lived in the same compound with Case 11.
Case 16, transmitted the virus to her four family members.
These are Case 19 including Zimbabwe’s youngest COVID-19 patient – a four-year-old girl, Case 20 – a 10-year-old girl, Case 21 and Case 22 – a 16-year-old female.
Case 15 had contact with a 52-year-old female who became Case 23.