• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

EC gets medical experts to contain virus

Updated: Apr 23

The province has been assigned a team of medical experts to identify hotspots, report numbers of people who have tested positive at each district, and to advise on how to contain the virus, in the Eastern Cape.

The number of positive cases stands at 345 on Wednesday. 

The team includes doctors who have worked on outbreaks. They will work with the Department of Correctional Services which has recorded 87 positive cases at the East London facility.

They are expected to report daily to both MEC, Sindiswa Gomba and Health Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize. 

"Mziwamadoda Neti, an epidemiologist, will conduct an urgent audit of personal protective equipment at hospitals following allegations that some facilities do not have PPEs. All health workers from cleaners to doctors were instructed to wear PPEs at all times," said health spokesperson in the province, Sizwe Kupelo.

Those deployed include senior epidemiologists, analysts and field consultants to reinforce the provincial team, led by Dr Kerrigan McCarthy from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.  While in East London, Mkhize said he observed a rapid rise in the number of confirmed cases and this raised a concern. "The biggest risk of the spread that has been identified is the cultural practices occurring at funerals", he said, adding that he is in talks with Premier Lubabalo Mabuyane.

Stigmatisation of the virus has also been raised as a concern in the province and is said to be similar, if not more than HIV/AIDS in the 1990s and early 2000s. 

"This causes more damage as some people might be reluctant to come forward and be tested even if they might have symptoms of the virus," warned Kupelo.

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