Tag: Covid-19

Alberton News: Dates for Covid-19 testing and Screening.

Covid-19 testing and screening in Alberton

11 August – 9h00 till 14h00

• Edenpark next to the clinic

• Alberton CBD

• NewMarket Mall

12 August – 9h00 till 14h00

• Bracken City

• Brackengate

• Edenpark Extention 5 sports field

13 August – 9h00 till 14h00

• Greenfield taxi rank

14 August – 9h00 till 14h00

• 39 2nd Avenue, Alberton North GDE garages

15 August – 9h00 till 14h00

• Alberton North informal settlement Roxton

16 August – 9h00 till 14h00

• NewMarket Mall

• Alberton Taxi Rank Du Plessis Road

 

Health News: Coronavirus and the contraceptive pill, what you need to know

The COVID-19 pandemic has infected over 18 million people worldwide, but interestingly seems to have infected more men than women, according to global statistics.

That result has been analysed in several new studies highlighting the impact of the contraceptive pill on coronavirus, and it turns out there’s both good news and bad for those on birth control.

The good news,

Women on the contraceptive pill are less likely to contract COVID-19, according to a major new study out of London.

The Daily Telegraph reports researchers from King’s College London studied more than half a million women throughout the months of May and June to identify the crucial role oestrogen plays in contracting the illness.

Women taking the combined oral contraceptive pill were on average 13 percent less likely to develop serious symptoms, scientists discovered.

“Additionally, when we compared a younger group of women on the combined oral contraceptive pill [COCP] with a similar group not taking the COCP, we saw less severe COVID amongst those taking the COCP, suggesting hormones in the COCP may offer some protection against COVID-19,” says study co-author Dr Karla Lee.

Oestrogen, known as the “female hormone” as it’s present in higher proportions in women compared to men, is thought to influence how many immune cells a person produces and how well these respond to infection.

The bad news

But it’s not all great news for those on the COCP. Other studies have delved into the risk of “deadly blood clots”, which may be higher for those taking birth control who do end up contracting the virus.

Doctors have warned against the side-effects in a not-yet-peer-reviewed study published this week in the journal Endocrinology.

According to Insider, the research applies to those who are pregnant, on certain birth control pills, or taking oestrogen-based hormone replacement therapy. That’s because oestrogen, the key ingredient in many types of birth control, is known to increase the risk of blood clots – something COVID-19 is also known for.

Experts have previously warned that up to a third of patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19 are developing thrombosis.

The two together therefore may amplify the risk, the doctors hypothesise, but say more research is needed.

“During this pandemic, we need additional research to determine if women who become infected during pregnancy should receive anticoagulation therapy – or if women taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy should discontinue them,” says study co-author Dr Daniel Spratt, of Maine Medical Center in Portland, USA.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

News: Revised Lockdown Level to be discussed by government

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will soon be advised on the revision of the imposed Covid-19 national lockdown measures as provinces record a decline in infection rates.

This was revealed by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday as he provided an update on the state of the government’s fight against the pandemic.

Mkhize said Gauteng, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape were currently displaying a consistent trend in the decline of infections, with other provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal also expected to reach their peak soon.

Mkhize said Ramaphosa had asked him and his team to table recommendations before the NCCC on what would be the next best steps to be taken by South Africa going forward.

“So, we will be tabling recommendations to the NCCC. At some point during the course of next week, we should be able to get further guidance from the NCCC and the president,” Mkhize said.

Around 521318 Covid-19 positive cases had been confirmed by on Wednesday noon, with up to 8884 deaths recorded.

Gauteng remained the epicentre with 183090 cases or 35.1% of SA’s total cases, with 2268 deaths, followed by Western Cape with 97261 infections and 3245 deaths, while the Eastern Cape recorded 79844 infections and 1832 deaths.

“Most of the parts of the country, except KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces, have really pretty much reached the peak points and this peak point is likely to continue in KZN and the other provinces. However, it will be at a slightly lower level although the numbers of each province will still be very high,” Mkhize said.

He cautioned that the risk of a second surge remained and said that the public should continue to adhere to health protocols such as wearing masks, sanitising and washing of hands, maintaining social distancing and avoiding public gatherings.

“Until we are completely safe, we will keep reviewing restrictions and if necessary restrictions will still remain in place,” he said.

He also revealed that around 24104 health-care workers had been infected by the virus, with 181 of them having been confirmed as having died from it.

Mkhize said he had received reports that some of the health-care workers were dying after being infected because of failure or neglect by management to adhere to prescribed workplace safety protocols, which allegedly led to the death of a doctor at George Mukhari Academic Hospital, whose working conditions have been described as unsafe.

He added that he had now appointed a team of medical, nursing and legal professionals, led by Professor Taole Mokoena, to conduct an urgent investigation into the hospital and table a report in 14 days.

“I want to assure members of the public that if individuals entrusted with positions of power in health facilities or even at the district level are found to be in dereliction of duty by not ensuring adherence with health protocols, appropriate action will be taken against them,” Mkhize said.

 

Source: Political Bureau

News: Covid-19 ICU mortality reduced by 25% since introduction of dexamethasone

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says the introduction of the drug dexamethasone has reduced fatalities of Covid-19 patients in ICU by 25% since the it was introduced two months ago, IOL reports.

The drug was introduced to treat critically ill Covid-19 patients.

South Africa introduced the drug into it’s Covid-19 treatment programme in June after preliminary research showed that the drug reduced ICU fatalities by a third.

The introduction of the drug came after Oxford University, in Britain, found that dexamethasone had reduced the mortality rate by a third in patients on ventilators and by one fifth in patients who required oxygen.

“It appears we may have benefited from treatment developments while we were experiencing our surge. Our indications are that there has already been an improvement in the survival rate from ICU where the mortality has been reduced demonstrably: one study shows ICU mortality has been reduced by about 25% since the introduction of dexamethasone on June 16.

“In another study undertaken by the MRC (Medical Research Council), ICU survival rates showed dramatic improvement at 30-40%, whereas the ICU mortality rate at the beginning of the pandemic was around 80%,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize said the national health department had directed the provincial health departments to sign service level agreements with private health-care facilities in a bid to ensure that there were no bed shortages.

 

 

News: WHO experts flown in to help with coronavirus

The first team of experts from the World Health Organisation, who will assist South Africa in its fight against Coronavirus, is set to arrive in the country today.

A total of 43 senior experts from across the globe, including renowned specialists Dr David Heymann (a seasoned infectious disease epidemiologist and public health expert) and Dr Mike Ryan, are among the team that will assist the country to refine its efforts against the pandemic.

“Dr Mike Ryan will lead the team from Geneva and will… provide us with constant advice while analysing our strategies, including the decisions we have taken as the Department of Health in our COVID-19 response,” said Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

The Minister made the announcement during a virtual briefing on Wednesday where he provided an update on government’s efforts to fight Coronavirus.

The arrival of the team of experts comes as South Africa ranks in the top five globally in terms of the number of infections.

Making the announcement, Mkhize thanked WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for his continuous support and counsel.

“We see this as a great opportunity not only to improve our health strategies during this pandemic, but also to accelerate our path towards health care reform,” said the Minister.

The first 17 experts will touch down on South African soil today and will complete a period of quarantine and initiation before being deployed within the department and across various provinces.

The minister further raised his concern over reports of healthcare workers losing their lives due to lack of personal protective equipment (PPEs) or failure to meet health protocols.

 

He said that the infections of doctors as a result of Covid-19 make up 5% of the total infections in the country with 24,104 cases of these recorded as of 2 August.

“I have appointed a team to conduct an urgent investigation into a death of a doctor that died at the George Mukhari hospital in Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria as a result of Covid-19,” he said.

 

Sources: thecitizen, sanews

Covid-19 News: Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has urged mothers to continue breastfeeding.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has urged mothers to continue breastfeeding their infants amid concerns that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted through breast milk.

The minister was speaking during a virtual meeting on Tuesday to mark the start World Breastfeeding Week.

“Under the current circumstances we are mindful that families, mothers, caregivers and even some healthcare workers in particular are worried and asking many questions whether the coronavirus can be passed on through breastmilk and how can they protect themselves and their babies,” he said.

“I can assure you that the COVID-19 virus has not been found in breastmilk and research evidence has shown that the virus is not transmitted through breastmilk or by giving breastmilk that has been expressed from a mother who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.”

Academic experts in South Africa have established a pregnancy register to evaluate potential harm to pregnant women and their babies caused by COVID-19 infection – with the issue of breastfeeding coming into sharp focus.

Based on these studies, mothers who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are encouraged to continue breastfeeding while practicing good respiratory hygiene like:

  • Wearing masks
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer
  • Routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces

Mkhize said despite the challenges the health system is facing, the National Breast Bank has been able to keep ample stock of breastmilk throughout the period of the pandemic.

“Donated breastmilk is a critical resource in managing children who cannot breastfeed for various reasons but whose optimal treatment includes the administration of breastmilk. The vast majority of these patients are premature babies who benefit enormously from the properties contained in breast milk,” Mkhize said.

“I would therefore like to encourage all health care workers to contact the nearest Breast Bank if they require breast milk for their patients and to assure them that there is adequate stock at this stage.”

Vaccination

Mkhize also used the platform to urge parents to vaccinated their children.

“We have noticed that some babies and children are missing their immunisations and growth monitoring during this time.

Many of the illnesses we vaccinate against – such as measles, polio and meningitis – are much more dangerous for children than COVID-19. I urge all mothers, fathers and caregivers not to default on their children’s vaccination schedules for fear of visiting a facility and contracting COVID-19,” Mkhize said.

“Our facilities all have a triage mechanism whereby patients with flu-like illnesses are separated from patients presenting for other reasons. This is to ensure that access to quality health care is not compromised during the COVID-19 surge.”

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Sport News: Valke Rugby Company files for liquidation due to Covid-19.

The Valke Rugby Company has become the first COVID-19 casualty in the South African rugby fraternity after they confirmed filing for liquidation with immediate effect, The South African reported.

The Valke Company had recently joined the money-spinning Global Rapid Rugby competition in Malaysia. A Valke team based in Kuala Lampur consisting of some of their best South African players coupled with local talent were scheduled to play in the competition in March.

The cancellation of the inaugural Global Rapid Rugby competition due to the coronavirus pandemic was the final nail in the their coffin according to the club.

VALKE COMPANY FILE FOR LIQUIDATION

“It is therefore with regret and great sadness that we have to announce that the professional arm of the Valke, the Valke Rugby (Pty) Ltd, is in financial distress and the directors of the company resolved that the company be wound up as it is unable to pay creditors and employees,” a statement from the company said.

“This decision was not taken lightly and the board of directors exhausted all avenues at their disposal to save the company from bankruptcy before concluding that the company be wound up.

“The novel coronavirus has claimed another victim, after the Global Rapid Rugby competition played in Malaysia was cancelled due to the ban on travelling and the revenue stream from license agreement was stopped.”

UNABLE TO PAY SALARIES

“Salaries of employees have not been paid at the end of July and we as part of the Valke family deeply regret the hardships this decision has caused to all involved. It has, however, become unavoidable. Our hearts go out to all players, employees and families of those affected during this time.

“The Company relayed the decision to liquidate the company to all organisations representing the employees and players of the Valke Company. We as the Valke Union will do our utmost to support and assist every member of the Valke family and will co-operate with all organisations involved on behalf of their members.”

The Valke Rugby Union, the amateur arm that runs rugby in the East of Gauteng remain unaffected by the financial situation at the Valke Rugby Company.

 

Photo Credit: dreamstime

News: Wear a mask or face a fine, taxi associations warn drivers

If you see a [taxi] driver not wearing a mask during a trip, report him,” warns Themba Kubheka, secretary of the Greater North Taxi Association in Durban.

This follows dozens of complaints from commuters about taxi drivers who defy regulations to slow the spread of Covid-19 by not wearing masks or wearing it incorrectly during trips.

“Some taxi drivers are not wearing their masks, some wear it on their chin and that is not acceptable … We will be running a campaign to teach them about the importance of safety especially during the pandemic,” said Kubheka.

“Most of our drivers were ignorant to the fact that this is serious, but now they are starting to see the seriousness of the situation. We are pleading with them to always wear their masks, sanitise and wash their hands before and after every trip,” said Kubheka.

SA National Taxi Council (SANTACO)’s Sfiso Shangase said, “In areas where Operation Hlokomela is active, we have asked that they fine any driver or driver assistant found without a mask on a trip. We have also put up stickers in taxis encouraging both our drivers and commuters to wear masks. If drivers don’t wear masks, how do they expect passengers to wear theirs?”

Commuter Mndeni Mkhize, from Ntuzuma, said drivers who do not wear face masks are endangering their lives and those of their passengers. “They are most at risk as they transport a lot of people from different professions everyday. It is their responsibility to make sure that everyone wears a mask when entering the taxi.”

Zwangabo Mjoka said taxi drivers in Malukazi, south of Durban, are leading by example. He said most of them wear masks during trips par “a few bad apples” that need to be reported for breaking lockdown regulations.

Chairperson of the taxi driver association Bonginkosi Sangweni said an ongoing challenge is convincing drivers to wear masks.

“Some people say that they are discouraged or don’t see the need to wear masks during trips just because drivers don’t wear theirs. This is wrong; we must work together on this. We are also collecting money to buy thermometers so that drivers can be screened before a trip,” said Sangweni.

 

By: Nokulunga Majola/ Groundup

Photo Credit: Nokulunga Majola

 

Sport News: Sevens Series cancelled due to Covid-19.

The Cape Town leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series, provisionally scheduled for December 4-6 this year, has been cancelled due to the ongoing and dynamic global nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, World Rugby announced on Wednesday.

The Dubai leg of the Series – with which the Cape Town event is paired – has also been cancelled, IOL Sport reported.

The events were due to be the first two legs on the 10-tournament 2020/2021 World Rugby Sevens Series.

World Rugby, its partners, SA Rugby and the Dubai organisers undertook a comprehensive consultation process and constructive dialogue to reach the conclusion.

The decisions were taken in line with relevant government and International public health authority advice and with the health and well-being of the rugby community and the wider public taking precedence. Cape Town – and Dubai – are due to return to a full Series schedule in 2021.

“This is a very disappointing development but far from unexpected,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby chief executive.

“Over and above all of that, the health of players and fans was of paramount importance and with the current uncertainties in that regard all parties agreed on the need to cancel this year’s event.”

The decision follows the recently announced conclusion of the World Rugby Sevens Series (due to the Covid-19 pandemic), with New Zealand confirmed as both men’s and women’s champions.

The Singapore, Hong Kong, London and Paris legs of the Series had to be cancelled, with World Rugby and its partners now continuing to focus on planning for the remainder of the 2020/2021 Series and the build-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Photo Credit: SApeople

Covid-19 News: New symptom to look out for – Covid toes.

Just when we thought life couldn’t get any more bizarre, Covid-19 toes became a thing.

It is one of the newest Covid-19 symptoms to be reported and that it affects the feet, but what exactly is it?

Manifesting as red sores or purple-looking toes and swollen feet, Covid-19 toes appear to be similar to chilblains, which is a painful condition caused by inflamed blood vessels in the skin as a result of exposure to cold air. The symptoms of chilblains include red patches, itching, blistering and swelling on the hands and feet.

The difference with Covid-19 toes, however, is that it has affected people in both cold and relatively warm climates.

” The difference between chilblains and Covid-19 toes is that the latter has affected people in both cold and relatively warm climates ”

Covid-19 toes have caused some controversy. Doctors first picked up on the phenomenon in April, when they started observing symptoms predominantly in younger patients who were relatively healthy and showed no or very few symptoms of Covid-19.

Experts were unsure whether the increase in patients exhibiting these signs were related to Covid-19, but an editor’s note published in the journal JAMA Dermatology at the end of June suggested the two are related, and urged dermatologists to be aware of a possible link.

The authors, Dr Claudia Hernandez and Dr Anna Bruckner, both dermatologists in the US, referred to two studies that had been conducted. In both studies, none of the patients who exhibited symptoms of Covid-19 toes tested positive for Covid-19 or showed any symptoms. The authors in both studies suggested that lifestyle changes related to lockdown, such as being less active and walking barefoot on cold surfaces, could be to blame for these symptoms.

A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, also in June, contained similar findings.

Seven children with symptoms of Covid-19 toes were tested for Covid-19 using throat swabs or by testing for antibodies, but all tested negative for the coronavirus. However, after conducting skin biopsies on the children, the researchers found traces of Covid-19 in the blood vessels of the children’s skin, endothelial cells surrounding the blood vessels and sweat glands.

In cases where symptoms of Covid-19 toes have coincided with symptoms of Covid-19, it appeared this has happened after the patient was initially infected.

The results of a study conducted by dermatologists in Madrid, Spain, that was published this month found that affected patients developed symptoms of Covid-19 toes and skin lesions on average nine days after first starting to exhibit Covid-19 symptoms.

Despite the initial controversy around whether Covid-19 toes are an official symptom of Covid-19, on its website the World Health Organisation lists “a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes” under the list of less common Covid-19 symptoms.

Other less common symptoms include diarrhoea, conjunctivitis (or pink eye) and a loss of taste or smell.

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