New Covid cases, deaths continue to decline

A glimmer of hope
Leandrea Louw
Namibia’s Covid-19 epidemiological situation has significantly improved in the last weeks.

According to the minister of health and social services Dr Kalumbi Shangula, the number of new infections, hospitalization and deaths shows a progressive decline, especially in the last 12 days.

Shangula said that following the implementation of the current regulations, from 1 August 2021 to 12 August 2021, a total of 2 812 new confirmed cases were reported.

“This is a reduction of 52% as compared to the 12 days prior between 20 July -31 July 2021, where 5 847 new confirmed cases were reported. Average cases per day were 234 between 1 to 12 August 2021 while between 20-31 July it was 487 cases per day, this is a twofold decline. There was a day when we recorded a daily infection of less than 100 cases.”

The positivity ratio has also declined by 38% from 24% during 20-31 July 2021 to 15% for the period 1to 12 August 2021.

“This is a great improvement compared to the 44% positive ratio that the country experienced at the peak of the pandemic during the last of week of June 2021. The regional proportion for the number of new infections per 100 000 persons continues to show a decline in thirteen regions, with the exception of Oshana. The basic reproduction ratio continues to decline down to 0.64 as of 12 August 2021.”

The minister said that the positive trajectories and downward trends observed now are an indication that the measures that have been put in place do work and can have a positive effect on containing the spread of the pandemic.

Generally, a decline in case-fatality ratio has also been observed countrywide in the past two weeks.

Area of concern

Shangula said it remains concerning that Omaheke continues to be an outlier with a reported case fatality of above 6%.

“The persistently high case fatality rate there necessitated the ministry to deploy a team of medical and infection prevention and control experts to the region at the beginning of August 2021 to assess and ascertain factors contributing to higher deaths in the region.”
He said the findings from this visit were presented this week to the technical team and confirmed anecdotal reports of delayed health seeking behaviours, wide use of unauthorized medications notably the animal medicine ivermectin, use of non-validated testing kits and use of home remedies for self-treatment.

It was observed that patients were likely to turn up late at hospital for appropriate supportive treatment leading to poor prognosis and home deaths.

“We are devising strategies to address the situation in the region,” said the minister.

Isolation Wards

A decline in admissions to isolation wards were also seen, as a total of 307 admissions were reported on 10 August as compared to 597 admissions in mid-July 2021.

Similarly, a decline in the number of daily ICU admission was observed with 39 admissions for 10 August compared to 113 admissions during the last week of July 2021 on a seven-days moving average.

Additionally, in terms of actual bed occupancy, 10 out of 14 regions are reporting an improvement in general isolation bed occupancy of between 11% and 60% consistently, since the beginning of the current dispensation.

“The demand for high care in Khomas, Erongo and Omaheke continues, and stands at between 61% and 100%, while in the regions of Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati the figures stand at a low of 11% and a high of 60%. ICU bed occupancy remains high in Oshana and Khomas. None of the regions has reached 100% of its ICU bed capacity to date.”