A network of 13 medical staffers at Mater Dei Hospital is believed to be among the 47 people who have been traced by health authorities as having been in contact with the 79-year-old Bulawayo man who recently died of the novel coronavirus pandemic amid indications that the numbers of people who could have contracted the catastrophic plague in Zimbabwe’s second largest city could even be more.
The deceased septuagenarian was last Wednesday cremated at Bulawayo Crematorium at West Park Cemetery after he was posthumously confirmed to have died of coronavirus.
Bulawayo City Council Health Services Director, Dr Edwin Sibanda told state media that the local authority has been engaged in contact tracing to ascertain the actual number of people who could have got in touch with the deceased who became Zimbabwe’s confirmed second Covid-19 death after youthful broadcaster Zororo Makamba.
The southern African nation now has three confirmed Covid-19 deaths and 11 cases.
The council has also done contact tracing on the deceased’s former colleagues and workmates at Qalisa Restaurant Village in the city’s leafy suburbs. In Matabeleland North where the late coronavirus victim visited for a safari, contact tracing is also being done at Ganda Lodge which is located inside Hwange National Park.
However, due to the fact that the now deceased died at an advanced age, he is said to not have travelled much although his contacts are suspected to be living in the affluent eastern and western suburbs of Bulawayo.
Dr Sibanda said chances are high that there could be more Covid-19 cases in Bulawayo linked to the contacts of the late 75-year-old.
“We have 47 people who are potential contacts and we are still following up on them and samples are being taken for those who fit the criteria,” Dr Sibanda was quoted in the state-owned Chronicle as saying.
Dr Sibanda also said as the deceased was an elderly man who needed some assistance, those who were doing some house chores for him also needed to be tested for Covid-19.
“He was in hospital; there were people who nursed him, maybe even bathed or fed him. So, these people are more of contacts than anyone else. We need to know all of them and all of us become honest and tell the truth, hopefully we will catch more people and halt the spread,” he said.
Zimbabweans are on record castigating the Harare administration of underreporting the number of those who could have contracted the ravaging Covid-19 and figures of those who have so far succumbed to the unsettling coronavirus.