Ministry of Health issues warning as Covid-19 cases rise

Officials say the test positivity rate has risen to 3.5% signalling an upward trend. He has urged health workers and persons aged 50+ years to go for booster doses.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The head of public health at the Ministry of Health, Dr Daniel Kyabayinze has announced an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases from 159 in April to 641 in May.

“There has been a slight increase in cases despite suboptimal testing, and low-risk perception in the community,” Dr Kyabayinze said in an epidemiology report shared with the media on Monday afternoon.

The report also indicates that the positivity rate – the chance of finding a positive case among 100 people tested – increased from 0.8 per cent in April to 3.5 per cent in May. The statistics mean 19,875 samples were tested in April compared to 18,314 tests done in May.

“We are observing an increase in the cases of Covid-19 at the moment and some people are being hospitalised. I want to call upon all Ugandans that Covid-19 is still with us,” Dr Kyabayinze said.

Kyabayinze urged health workers and persons aged 50+ years to go for booster doses.

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“We see that the test positivity rate is now rising to 3.5 per cent and we want to ask everybody to have this opportunity to go quickly for their booster doses, especially those aged 50 years and above, and health workers who handle sick people,” he said.

Despite the rise in cases, there has not been any Covid-19 death reported in the past two months, based on the report. The ministry also didn’t provide current data on active cases and those hospitalised.

Dr Henry Kyobe, the head of the National Covid-19 Taskforce explained that the current cases of infections are generally “mild” and may not require hospitalisation.

“We have the classification of severe, moderate and mild. But most of the cases are mild category, some in moderate category. Some people with comorbidities [like diabetes and hypertension] slide into the severe form [of Covid-19],” he said.

“We have had vaccination across the country and also, we have individuals who have previously been infected, so we hope there is some degree of immune protection from severe disease,” he said.
The incident commander also said more people are getting infected because they are “not adhering to standard operating procedures (SOPs) such as the use of masks,” he added.

He recommended that those who reveal symptoms should test for Covid-19, [those who turn out positive], should protect vulnerable people by wearing masks, stay away from other individuals if possible by not going to work, not using public transport means and not going to church.

The development comes at a time the president last evening announced he had tested negative for Covid-19 after battling with the disease for 11 days.

“I want to call upon all Ugandans that Covid is still with us and we see that the test positivity rate is now rising to 3.5%. I want to ask all those who have an opportunity especially the people above 50 years to go and get their booster doses,” Kyabayinze said.

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Uganda announced an end to Covid-19 last year after the viral disease killed over 3,000 Ugandans and infected over 170,000 people.

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