Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
BULAWAYO’S city centre has been named among the city’s Covid-19 hotspots as the city looks for alternative isolation centres to accommodate those who cannot self-isolate at home.
Council on Wednesday released a graphic illustration of areas with the most Covid-19 cases as of Monday.
The map shows that Cowdray Park suburb continues to top the list of confirmed cases followed by Pumula suburbs with the CBD coming third out of 25.
The three had each more than 100 Covid-19 positive patients on Monday while Nkulumane had the fourth highest cases with 74 confirmed incidents.
In the past graphs, the CBD was not listed among the Covid-19 hotspots in the city with Mpilo Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) being dropped from the list.
Bulawayo Health Services director Dr Edwin Sibanda said providing graphic illustrations seeks to show the extent of mutating Covid-19 cases in the city.
“What we want to show is where we are having active cases. And you may want to appreciate that while UBH and Mpilo Central Hospital might had Covid-19 cases, those members of staff reside somewhere else.
Some of those members of staff are now classified under the group of people who have been mentioned under Cowdray Park,” said Dr Sibanda.
“The CBD is coming as there are a lot of people who reside in the city centre because we are using the addresses that the people are giving us, not the site where they tested for Covid-19.”
He said the increase 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 contacting those one resides with as they also could be infected through interaction with a Covid-19 confirmed person.
“At the moment we have a challenge with Elangeni Training Centre (isolation centre) which is undergoing renovations. As a result, we could not remove people from their places of residence for isolation purposes.
But we think this (renovations) would be through in two or three days. We are also working on getting a second isolation facility,” he said.
“At Elangeni they were fixing water related issues such as booster pumps, getting water to the upper floors of the building and even some geysers and this should be done in a few days and people can reoccupy Elangeni Training Centre. We are looking at the alternatives isolation facilities as some people cannot definitely isolate at home, especially those in high residential areas and in flats in the CBD.”
Health expert and former Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director Dr Wedu Ndebele said the map shows that there is widespread Covid-19 in communities.
“Basically, what this means is that Covid-19 is now everywhere and people must observe lockdown guidelines irrespective of where they stay. If you are staying in the suburbs stay there, if you are staying in the CBD stay within your house and don’t go to places unnecessarily unless you are an essential worker or going to work,” said Dr Ndebele.
Cowdray Park, Ward 28 councillor Kidwell Mujuru said while the suburb has the epicentre of Covid-19 in the city, the behaviour from residents was most worrying.
“They do not seem to understand the threat this virus is posing to us. People are not adhering to lockdown regulations. We have a lot of people setting stalls at Terminus among other areas. We have tried to conduct campaigns to educate them, we are putting informative posters across the suburb to sensitise them of the threat posed by the disease but not all of them seem to understand. I think more police officers should be deployed to enforce lockdown regulations,” said Cllr Mujuru. — @nqotshili