Nine more learners have tested positive for Covid-19 at Matopo High School in Matabeleland South bringing the current number of coronavirus cases at the school to 19.
Early this week, Matopo High School recorded 10 positive Covid-19 cases, forcing the institution to go on lockdown.
These nine new cases are contacts of the first cases said Matabeleland South Provincial Medical Director, Dr Rudo Chikodzore.
“As part of the response against Covid-19 we do what is called surveillance, where we are on the lookout and do a follow up on the contacts of the positive cases,” she said in an interview with CITE.
Dr Chikodzore said they had discovered that Matopo District was experiencing an increase in flu cases.
She noted that nine including other contacts were tested much earlier but their results came this week.
“If you check the national statistics (from the Ministry of Health and Child Care) you will see less active cases, as some of the patients have reached the 10 days in isolation. But the additional nine were tested soon after the first case in the school tested positive,” Dr Chikodzore said.
Dr Chikodzore explained that it was procedure to follow up on all the contacts of persons who tested positive for Covid-19, as contact tracing was critical in curbing further spread.
“When you have a positive case, you must do a follow up of all the people they came in contact with. For instance one can have 100 contacts and all those must be tested but you may discover that perhaps only five or 10 can test positive,” she said.
“Surveillance is an ongoing process and checking up on the contacts in order to break the chain of spread.”
The PMD added that so far, all, the students were faring well and none required hospitalisation.
“All cases are mild and these students were asymptomatic. They are doing well, no one has required hospital admission and yes the school is on lockdown,” Dr Chikodzore said.
As for the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the school, the PMD said it was enough.
“Covid- 19 is a national response and all of our PPE is coming from NatPharm (the National Pharmaceutical Company in Harare). We haven’t had any problems with shortages and if we do, we will deal with it when it comes. But for now there stocks are there, which is why the rapid response teams are adequately responding to the positive cases,” Dr Chikodzore said.
“If there are to be shortages we can draw from stocks across other provinces and we will also flag the national office, which will send more but currently for what is required now, we have enough.”
The school`s administration also sent out messages to parents and guardians informing them about the latest cases.
“That is seven boys and two girls. The learners have been isolated and their condition is mild, please don’t panic,” urged the school.
“Our nurses continue to be on high alert by making frequent visits. They are managing the symptoms on the ground and hopefully there have been no antibiotics cases so far. All our learners are only showing flu, headache and coughing symptoms that the clinic and school staff are properly managing.”
Covid-19 cases in schools are rising following reported cases in schools especially in Matabeleland Province.
Cases at John Tallach High School in Matabeleland North rose to 184 and school has been sealed off for two weeks after five pupils initially tested positive.
In Bulawayo, Emakhandeni Primary school and Maranatha Adventist High School in Bulawayo.
Officials also revealed that three people including two health workers working at a school clinic at George Silundika High in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland North, had been quarantined after testing positive for the virus.