Coronavirus: Nelson Mandela Bay now has 16 cases - 3 more linked to funeral test positive

2020-04-06 19:26
A hospital isolation unit.

A hospital isolation unit. (Chante Schatz)

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The number of positive Covid-19 cases in Nelson Mandela Bay has risen to 16, which includes three more people linked to a KwaDwesi funeral held 16 days ago in the city.

Provincial health spokesperson Siyanda Manana on Monday confirmed the increase of confirmed Covid-19 infections in the metro.

The numbers for the Eastern Cape stand at 31.

"We've found that gatherings such as funerals are some of the places where transmission takes place, without people realising it," Manana said.

'Come and be tested'

Manana urged city residents and those in the province at large, who had recently attended mass gatherings, such as church services and particularly funerals, "to come and be tested".

"People must phone 0800 032 364 or 0800 299 999, so that they can get tested," he said.

Health MEC in the Eastern Cape Sindiswa Gomba on Sunday said three women, aged 32, 50 and 60, are currently hospitalised. They are all nurses.

They were part of a group that had attended the funeral of a retired nurse 16 days ago, which has since been identified as a source of the rise in cases in the metro.

News24 can confirm that at least one of the three women is related to the deceased nurse.

The woman was removed by a Covid-19 response unit in Zwide on Friday, with photos also posted to social media this past weekend.

'On our doorstep'

The woman, who is also a nurse in one of the local hospitals, shares her home with four other people, and was also allegedly escorted by two close friends, who were supporting her during the period of bereavement.

One of her neighbours in her Zwide home, who asked not to be named, said she was shocked by the development.

READ | Covid-19: How South Africa will test for the virus

"This corona thing has just slapped us across the face. It is shocking to learn that someone we engage with so casually, on a day-to-day basis, can be identified as infected by this thing," she said. 

"When the cars [arrived] with people wearing all white protective clothing from head to toe, we thought we were dreaming," she said. 

She said it looked like a scene from a science fiction movie.

"I wanted to die because we have all been taking this thing lightly, only to discover that it is right on our doorstep," said the neighbour.

Funeral attendees asked to respond

Nelson Mandela Bay council speaker Buyelwa Mafaya has made an urgent call for residents who attended the funeral to be cautious because the number of infected people is escalating. 

"We are aware of concerning reports that a large number of people are worried that they may have been exposed to Covid-19. If you are in this group, please go to your nearest health facility as soon as possible," said Mafaya.

"Please ensure that you are covered with a mask or scarf or any cloth when you go to the health centres," said Mafaya.

A specialist doctor at one of the biggest hospitals and his wife, who is also a doctor, were also identified as positive cases last week. The couple is under self-quarantine at their home.

Read more on:    nelson mandela bay  |  lockdown  |  coronavirus
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