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Patients are visiting health-care facilities too late: KZN premier Sihle Zikalala on Covid-19 cases

Warning about home treatments

Seek medical help if you are showing signs of a Covid-19 infection.
Seek medical help if you are showing signs of a Covid-19 infection.
Image: 123RF/Yuriy Klochan

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government is pleading with residents to not “over-rely on homemade recommended solutions” but rather seek medical attention as soon as they show Covid-19 symptoms.

Premier Sihle Zikalala raised the alarm at a media briefing on Sunday about this phenomenon, adding that patients “must try and reach health facilities on time when [treatment] could still be done”.

The province is the fourth-hardest hit in terms of infection rates in SA and has recorded 29,147 new infections in the past seven days.

“We remain extremely concerned that far too many people are responding late to these symptoms, and arriving at our health-care facilities when it is simply too difficult or impossible to save them.

“We know that many are sceptical of being admitted to hospital for various reasons, including that they will not be able to receive visitors,” he said.

In his plea, Zikala reminded people of the province that it is much better to be in a hospital when one is sick, because help is at hand when complications set in.

“You can be given oxygen if you’re struggling to breathe, and/or receive other forms of medical intervention.”

He said symptoms that people should particularly look out for were: fever, dry cough, tiredness, loss of taste, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement.

“We are noting that people over-rely on homemade recommended solutions such as steaming and use of traditional approaches. While this may be part of our arsenal in this war we, however, appeal and encourage that if people test positive, they must try and reach health facilities on time when means could still be done. Patients are presenting when vital body levels are low and this is worrying,” Zikalala explained.

He called for people not to delay seeking medical attention such as screening and testing, so that they can be attended to as soon as possible.

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Zikalala said while the province prepares to roll out Covid-19 vaccinations, the starting point for his government is education.

“Education and awareness, and debunking the myths that unfortunately surround the vaccine because for us, this will be an all-important race to save lives.

“We are working on vaccination sites in all the districts of our province, ensuring that they are in a good state of readiness,” said the premier.

The provincial command council will present a full vaccination plan in the coming weeks.

The premier said while some days infection numbers show a slight decline, vigilance to contain the virus must continue. He attributed the reduction in Covid-19 transmissions to alert level 3 adjustments.

Zikalala also revealed that there has been an increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospitals.

“This virus is deadly and we have seen that it is also taking young people. We ask that you stay at home and avoid the risk of bringing the virus to your home,” he said.