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Zambia: Bed occupancy rate at COVID care centres has exceeded 100 percent

Zambia: Bed occupancy rate at COVID care centres has exceeded 100 percent
June 15
19:48 2021

The Zambia ministry of health says bed occupancy rate at COVID-19 care centres has exceeded 100 percent, as the country is hit by a third wave of infections.

In a statement on Tuesday, Kennedy Malama, permanent secretary in the ministry of health, said although the country foresaw a third wave, the rate at which the virus is spreading is alarming.

While noting that health workers in the country have become overwhelmed, he expressed concern that the mobilisation of new bed spaces due to the increased occupancy is not sustainable.

“Having 726 in-patients due to 65+9- with 195 admissions and 28 deaths in 24 hours for a small population of our country is very alarming, and calls for us as a people to put all our different opinions and beliefs aside and bind together to effectively respond to the current situation,” he said.

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“Experience from across the globe has shown that once COVID-19 hospitalisations reach 40 percent bed capacity, the health care workers and other systems become overwhelmed due to the unique demands COVID-19 patients present.

“We are now operating at 100% bed occupancy and we are still mobilising more bed space. This is not sustainable.”

He, however, said the situation can be addressed if citizens adhere to safety measures, just as he called on developmental partners for support.

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“Government has ramped up support to the COVID-19 response across the pillars informed by the COVID-19 Multisectoral Contingency Preparedness and Response Plan. We urge our development partners — the United Nations family, private sector, civil society and other stakeholders — to rise to the occasion and support the response,” he said.

He urged citizens to ensure strict adherence to preventive guidelines, adding that 80 percent of the infections can be curtailed by complying with the safety protocol.

The minister added that in the last 24 hours, the country has reported 2,679 new infections, and 901 recoveries.

He said there are 14,485 active cases in total, with 721 persons admitted to the COVID-19 isolation centre, while 485 patients are on oxygen therapy and 101 in critical condition.

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So far, the country has confirmed 115,824 cases of COVID-19, with 99,895 recoveries and 1,444 deaths.

Zambia is one of many countries that have seen an increase in COVID-19 infections, leading to a third wave.

Experts have attributed this surge in some countries to new variants which are said to be more infectious.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), on Monday, however, said COVID-19 cases have declined around the world in the last seven weeks, but fatalities are increasing with over 10,000 people dying every day from the virus.

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