COVID-19 diagnosis does not equal to death—Dr. Phuka

Saturday’s situation report

* Home remedies should be used in moderation as they have the potential to cause stress on various organs

* Large consumptions can potentially lead to death

* Ensure having a normal balanced diet when infected with COVID 19

* Take some rest punctuated with moderate activity and exercise, and drink lots of water

By Duncan Mlanjira

Dr. John Phuka, co-chairperson of the presidential task force on COVID-19 says if one is diagnosed as being positive of COVID-19 “does not equal to death” and that the disease can be beaten “if we take care of ourselves and follow regulated procedures by the Ministry of Health”.

In his situation report for Saturday, Dr. Phuka takes cognizance that the number of new COVID-19 cases is rapidly increasing in the country with 470 deaths registered thus far and due to this, there is fear and anxiety among the public.

That fear is “resulting in many people opting to self-medicate and use various home remedies to alleviate their symptoms”.

“Social media has become a source of information regarding various medicines that people believe will either cure or prevent COVID-19.

“People are advising each other on different courses of treatment without proper clinical assessment and expert advice.

“At the same time, our health facilities have noted that some COVID-19 positive patients are reporting to the facilities while in a severe state and in some cases they are already dead.

“One potential reason for these late arrivals is self-medication that is happening without any clinical consultation. We therefore urge patients to rush to the hospital in the early stages of symptom development for assessment to determine the severity of disease and course of management.”

Dr. Phuka reiterates symptoms of severe cases such as shortness of breath and low oxygen levels require a specialised approach that cannot be attained at home.

“Such cases must be managed at the treatment centres that have been approved by the Ministry of Health.

“The public must be reminded that supplements such as Vitamin C, D and Zinc should be used upon prescription sites.

“Likewise, steroids should be used with steroids. Steroids taken carelessly and without medical consultation have terrible side effects and particularly in Diabetics, it will cause elevation in sugar levels.”

On the figures, there were 1,074 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, 25 new deaths and 112 new recoveries.

Of the deaths in the past 24 hours, 11 are from Blantyre, five from Rumphi, three from Chitipa, and one each from Zomba, Nkhotakota, Kasungu, Salima, Nsanje and Ntchisi.

Cumulatively, 6,520 cases have now recovered, 134 were lost to follow-up, and 76 are still being investigated to ascertain their outcome, bringing the total number of active cases to 11,239.

Of the active cases, 258 are currently admitted in 24 hospitals across the country with the highest at Queen Elizabeth Central in Blantyre at 96, seconded by Lilongwe at 54 with Zomba at 20 and 15 in Mzimba North.

Coronavirus alert

The treatment units recorded 41 new admissions and 20 in-patients were discharged as cumulatively, recorded cases since April last year is at 18,439 cases including 470 deaths (case fatality rate at 2.55%).

Of these cases, 1,928 are imported infections and 16,511 are locally

transmitted. All cases are locally transmitted infections with Blantyre having the highest at 322 and 149 from Lilongwe.

Zomba recorded 93; Kasungu 90; Dowa 59 with 45 from Salima, 42 from Chiradzulu, 34 from Mangochi, 33 from Machinga, 27 from Chikwawa, 24 from Mchinji, 22 from Nkhata Bay, 20 from Phalombe, 19 from Thyolo, 17 from Mulanje, 16 from Neno, 13 from Karonga, 12 each from Chitipa and Rumphi and 11 from Balaka.

Six are from Dedza, five from Ntchisi, and one each from Likoma, Nsanje and Nkhotakota districts.

Watch your distance! Wash your hands! Wear your mask! Seek for care early upon development of symptoms of COVID-19. Call toll free 929.