A 77-year-old man from Bloemfontein who died about two weeks ago was the first to test positive for Covid-19 post-mortem. This comes after the man’s corpse was swabbed for the virus during the Easter Weekend.
Free State Health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi, says as far as they know it is the first case in the country where a Covid-19 infection was discovered after a corpse got swabbed. “The man died on 9 April 2020 and his corpse was swabbed on 12 April 2020,” said Mvambi.
The discovery has prompted the department to expand the management of Covid-19 to include the swabbing of corpses. “This case has prompted the department to swab all corpses in order to ensure that we know for certain if anyone has died of Covid-19, which may not have been seen when the person was alive,” he said.
“This is also to ensure that we trace all the contacts of the deceased in order to test them and eliminate uncertainty about the prevalence of Covid-19 among unsuspecting people. This is an added quality assurance towards our efforts of flattening the curve and curbing further transmissions,” explained Mvambi.
According to Provincial Health Department the Free State Covid-19 death toll includes five males between the ages of 55 and 85.
The spokesperson, however, emphasised that out of 102 people who have tested positive in the Free State about 74 have fully recovered.
“The Department is delighted about the number of patients that are recovering from Covid-19. There is no cure yet for Cobid-19, but we have seen 74 patients fully recover and being released from health facilities to be with their families. We are monitoring these patients regularly through our health professionals to ensure that they do not find themselves re-infected,” he said.
“Our teams are diligently following the 28 cases that are still Covid19 positive. We remain cautiously optimistic that they will all be brought to full recovery,” added Mvambi. Presently, out of the 28 cases five patients have been admitted to Pelonomi Hospital, while 23 are self-isolating.
Free State Health MEC, Montseng Tsiu, pleaded with residents to avoid stigmatising those who test positive for Covid-19. “We plead with Free Staters not to stigmatise people that test positive but rather to cheer them on for their good health seeking behaviour. Anyone who tests positive needs the support of their family and the moral support of the entire community. This virus knows no race, gender, religion, social class and any other classification,” she said.
“It is important therefore to stay at home and observe the lockdown regulations whilst aiding the efforts of screening and testing,” expressed the MEC.