No patient left behind

Only 1.6 percent of Erongo population fully vaccinated

22 June 2021 | Local News

Swakopmund • [email protected]

All hospitals across the country are overcrowded – a situation that is described as serious. Thankfully, “we have not yet had to turn away a patient due to lack of space,” Chief Medical Officer of the health ministry Leonard Kabongo said in Swakopmund yesterday during a media briefing convened by Erongo governor Neville Andre on the latest status of the pandemic.

Kabongo criticized the fact that many Covid-19 patients “go to hospital very late”, which is a major challenge. He said that especially people who suffer from comorbidities need to register a Covid-19 infection quickly.

“If a person does not see a doctor before their oxygen levels are very low, it will make treatment and survival more difficult,” he said.
Speaking to the AZ, several general practitioners described the Covid-19 situation as “out of control”. For more than a week they have been treating “only Covid-19 patients”.

“In our practice, we only see other illnesses in exceptional cases,” one doctor said.

Meanwhile, Anna Jonas, health director for Erongo, gave the assurance that the region had sufficient oxygen. “We see the highest number of active virus cases in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay,” she said. She described Swakopmund State Hospital as being “full”, which is why patients are being taken to other hospitals.

Jonas confirmed that the number of people who are being vaccinated against the virus has increased significantly since the beginning of the third wave of infections. To date however, only 1.6% of the regional population has received a second dose of vaccine. Between 60 and 80% of the population must be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.

Schools, police

According to the regional director of education, Ernfriede Stephanus, nine schools in the region are currently closed due to Covid-19 infections. A total of 58 teachers and 164 students had tested positive for the virus, and to date, a school principal and a department head had lost their lives.

“We are keeping an eye on the situation,” she said, and called on teachers and students to stay at home “as much as possible”.

The police are also struggling with several challenges, especially when enforcing Covid-19 requirements. “Police officers are not immune to the virus,” said regional commander Andreas Nulumbo. Two police officers are in intensive care due to Covid-19, eight are in quarantine and six others are in isolation. “The police urgently need more protective clothing. We have to protect our residents, but also our police officers,” said Nelumbo.

Meanwhile, health minister Kalumbi Shangula called the Covid-19 situation “serious” yesterday afternoon, saying that 40% of all test results have returned positive. According to the latest update, the death toll stands at 1 164 and the number of active virus cases at 13831.

Nationwide there are 504 people in the hospital, of which 76 are in intensive care units.

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