Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Health Reporter
ELANGENI Training Centre in Bulawayo is reopening today to cater for the growing number of people testing positive to Covid-19 in the city.
The facility reopens as medical experts warn that the second wave of the global pandemic is upon the city and could be deadly if people fail to uphold preventive measures.
The isolation centre for asymptomatic Covid-19 patients was closed for renovations but health officials decided to reopen it in response to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Bulawayo.
Medical experts have warned that with the way members of the public have become relaxed in terms of social distancing and wearing of masks, infections may spike.
As of yesterday, Bulawayo accounted for 1 570 cases of Covid-19 recorded since the outbreak of the disease in the country on March 20. The country has 238 active cases with city having the highest number at 116 followed by Midlands province at 32.
New Covid-19 cases have been up daily and over the past week Bulawayo province has recorded a majority of the reported cases.
By Saturday the seven-day rolling average for new cases stood at 14 and of the 11 cases recorded, five were from Bulawayo.
On October 13, Bulawayo recorded seven cases which rose to 10 the following day and then 13 on Thursday. A total of 11 new cases were recorded on Friday and 20 yesterday.
Bulawayo to date has recorded 47 of the total 231 Covid-19 deaths in Zimbabwe.
Countries like England and Italy are already bearing the brunt of the second wave of Covid-19 with reports showing that globally, the virus had killed more than a million people. The prevalence of Covid-19 in communities has exposed self-isolation challenges in the city as some people do not meet the conditions for isolating at home.
Isolating at home entails being able to stay at home without getting in contact with those one resides with as they also could be infected through interaction with the Covid-19 confirmed person.
Bulawayo is home to four designated Covid-19 treatment centres and three of them have all been undergoing renovations since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March. The three that are being refurbished are Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital, the Old Bartley Memorial Block (BMB) within the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Ekusileni Medical Centre.
The fourth centre is the privately-owned Mater Dei Hospital.
The BMB is said to be almost ready and will open its doors on November 1 while Ekusileni will open on November 30.
Bulawayo provincial medical director Dr Welcome Mlilo said the paperwork had been done to have Elangeni reopen.
He raised concern over the sudden rise of Covid-19 infections in Bulawayo saying if proper measures are not taken, the situation may be uncontrollable soon.
“Our numbers of Covid-19 cases are on the rise and we are concerned about experiencing a second wave of infections. We need to actively isolate cases to stop the community spread of the virus hence the decision to reopen Elangeni Training Centre,” said Dr Mlilo.
Acting Mpilo Central Hospital chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said people must heed advice from experts to ensure that the infections remain under control.
He said the reproductive rate of the virus stands at three meaning anyone with Covid-19 has a potential of infecting three more people at a time.
Professor Ngwenya also called for a March-like lockdown which was effective in stopping the spread in Zimbabwe.
He said members of the public were exposing themselves through unnecessary travel.
“The first lockdown was successful as we managed to keep the reproductive rate to below one but with the relaxation and attitudes prevalent in the community now, a Covid-19 storm is looming.
My prediction as a medical expert is that if we are not careful, we will bury many people before the Christmas holiday because it’s clear that the virus has spread rapidly in the community,” he warned.
Prof Ngwenya added that people should be wise enough to heed advice and never mistake it for threats or a violation of their rights. – @thamamoe