Zanzibar has been experiencing a rising number of coronavirus infections with its total caseload spiking to 876 and deaths to 40.
Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Nassor Ahmed Mazrui said that out of 45,522 people tested, 876 were infected.
He said the islands’ ability to avert an implosion of infections and fatalities hinged on the consistent wearing of face masks, avoidance of public gatherings, hand washing and people agreeing to be vaccinated.
The death toll has nearly tripled from 15 reported earlier last month while infections accelerated by 55.4 percent from 390 reported in early August.
“We are already in the third wave of infections and expect the positivity rate to increase further hence the need for the public to strictly adhere to containment measures,” he told journalists.
Meanwhile, the Mnazimmoja Referral Hospital is overwhelmed by the rising number of patients needing breathing assistance and supplemental oxygen.
The hospital’s production capacity of 180 cylinders a day is now overshadowed by the demand. Each patient consumes two cylinders a day and some use more.
The third wave of Covid-19 has put a huge strain on the country’s health system while creating an urgent need for oxygen supplies to be used in the treatment of the virus, as in many countries.
The hospital Secretary, Hassan Makame, said the oxygen cylinders now available at the hospital are not enough to serve the needs of patients, a trend that is now seeing a hike.
He said in order to address the shortage, the hospital has imported oxygen cylinders from the Mainland.
“Until recently our daily consumption was between 50 to 60 cylinders, but now it has gone up. We have 180 oxygen cylinders, but in order to cope with the present demand we need more than 120 cylinders,” he said.
He appealed to the public to take extra precautions to observe against pandemic diseases, such as the Covid-19 outbreak.
He called on health stakeholders and the public to support them in the availability of oxygen cylinders so as to save the lives of patients admitted to the hospital.
Commenting on the treatment of the Covid-19 patients, he said they had been isolated at special wards at the hospital so as to prevent them from infecting other patients.
Referring to the people who succumbed to the virus, he told the Zanzibar Mail that the bodies of those confirmed or suspected to have died from the virus are being handed over to their relatives for burial, but with guidelines of safe ways of burying their beloved ones.
The government has in the past few days strengthened the coronavirus vaccination services in hospitals and health centers.
A random survey conducted by the Zanzibar Mail shows the public response has been very positive and the provision of services is impressive and there are no serious public complaints.