MW Covid-19 Update

LILONGWE (MaraviPost): According to health Ministry presser, In the past 24 hours, Malawi has registered 240 new COVID-19 cases, 16 new recoveries and eight new deaths. Of the new cases, 233 are locally transmitted cases: 62 from Lilongwe, 60 from Blantyre, 13 from Kasungu, 12 from Zomba, 11 from Mchinji, nine each from Mangochi, Rumphi, and Nkhotakota, seven each from Balaka, Ntcheu, and Thyolo, five from Salima, four each from Chiradzulu and Machinga, three each from Mzimba North and Ntchisi, two each from Chitipa, Karonga, and Phalombe, and one each from Dedza and Neno Districts while seven cases are imported: three from Mangochi, and one each from Balaka, Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Nsanje Districts. Eight new deaths were registered in the past 24 hours: two each from Blantyre and Mzimba South, and one each from Lilongwe, Salima, Kasungu, and Ntchisi Districts. To the families that have lost their loved ones during this pandemic, may you find peace, hope and love during this difficult time. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 39,186 cases including 1,250 deaths (Case Fatality Rate is at 3.19%). Of these cases, 2,498 are imported infections and 36,688 are locally transmitted. Cumulatively, 33,854 cases have now recovered (recovery rate of 86.4%) and 232 were lost to follow-up. This brings the total number of active cases to 3,850. In the past 24 hours, there were 39 new admissions in the treatment units while 20 cases were discharged. Currently, a total of 162 active cases are currently hospitalized: 59 in Blantyre, 42 in Lilongwe, 10 in Zomba, six each in Kasungu and Thyolo, five each in Nkhotakota and Ntchisi, four each in Chiradzulu and Machinga, three each in Balaka, Mchinji, Mzimba North, and Mulanje, two in Dowa, and one each in Chitipa, Chikwawa, Ntcheu, Karonga, Neno, Salima, and Mangochi Districts. On testing, in the past 24 hours, 981 COVID-19 tests were conducted. Of these, 554 tests were through SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic test while the rest were through RT-PCR. The positive cases out of the total number tested (past 24 hours) translates to a positivity rate of 24.5% while a weekly positivity rate (seven days moving average) is at 19.8%. Cumulatively, 284,517 tests have been conducted in the country so far. On COVID-19 vaccination, cumulatively 385,242 and 43,165 people have received the first dose and second dose, respectively. The COVID-19 vaccination remains paused hence no doses were administered over the past 24 hours. A total of 428,407 vaccine doses has been administered in the country so far.

We are still observing general late care seeking behavior among us whereby patients are arriving in our treatment units while in severe state and this is resulting in poor disease outcomes. Further, we have noted that some patients are being brought in out treatment units already dead. Let me stress that those that have the severe form of the disease are supposed to seek care immediately at the nearest health facility where appropriate care will be given. The public should be informed that in our treatment/isolation units we have experienced and dedicated health workers that are working tirelessly to save lives. The chances of one recovering from COVID-19 increases when the disease is identified as early as possible hence the need for prompt health seeking behavior. I would like to encourage the public to promptly seek care at the nearest health facility whenever one is experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms such as fever, cough, flu, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell and tiredness. If one is unsure of what to do, please engage with the health authorities by calling the toll-free number 929. This prompt health care seeking will help us identify the disease in the early stages so that appropriate care can be given immediately. Let me also encourage those that have been confirmed to be COVID-19 positive to promptly seek care if they are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, loss of speech or movement. 

Let me emphasize that to effectively reduce and stop the disease from spreading further, there is need for a collective effort to contain the pandemic by comprehensively following all the preventive and containment measures. The following preventive measures should be our daily routine regardless of status: frequent handwashing with soap, proper wearing of mask, avoiding over- crowded places, practicing cough and sneeze etiquette, staying home if you have flu like symptoms and decontaminating commonly touched surfaces.

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