Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize is on Wednesday expected to visit health facilities in Limpopo as COVID-19 infections and deaths continue to rise.  

Limpopo has recorded 238 more COVID19-related deaths in the last reporting cycle taking its total since the pandemic began to 977. 

Dr Mkhize’s visit will start at the Tshilidzini Hospital in Thohoyandou, then move to a local mall that has previously been described as a super spreader location.  

The minister will then move to the Waterberg District, where he will visit the Modimolle MDR TB facility which is currently being used as a COVID-19 high care facility.  

Meanwhile, the provincial health department says delays in capturing death statistics have led to the exclusion of over 200 COVID-19 related deaths, some of which date back to as far as August last year. 

Concern over rising virus-related deaths 

Last week, residents in Thohoyandou and surrounding villages in Limpopo say they are feeling the impact of the large number of people dying from coronavirus in their communities.  

Polokwane, Lephalale, Thohoyandou, Tzaneen and Giyani are hotspots in the province. Some families have been left without breadwinners. 

Residents say they find it more difficult because they cannot perform rituals such as the viewing of the body, the coffin being taken to the family house before burial, attending the send-offs as well as physically visiting the bereaved to pay condolences. 

Meanwhile, funeral parlours indicated that they might soon run out of coffins due to the high number of deaths. 

The Vhembe Funeral Practitioners Association spokesperson Robert Mangege says they no longer have enough coffins as the demand is too high. 

Mangenge also says that the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a major concern, adding that suppliers have doubled the prices. 

In December last year, Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba discouraged family gatherings during the festive period after a family of 15 tested positive for the coronavirus.  

Dr Ramathuba expresses concern over the province’s increasing cases while urging residents of the province to stay at home and adhere to all health protocols:  

-Additional reporting by Jabulani Baloi