Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize says COVID-19 patients shouldn’t wait until they are seriously ill before seeking medical attention. He was speaking in Durban during his visit to various healthcare facilities.

KwaZulu-Natal has recorded one of the highest infection rates in the country during the second wave of the pandemic. Mkhize says the majority of people who die, present themselves too late at health facilities. He encouraged communities to seek medical help at an early stage.

“We are also seeing that in some instances there is a bit of reluctance on people to attend hospital early, so you get a history of someone who might have been sick at home and then two-three days they pass. I think it’s important to say to our people let’s come to hospital as soon as we get the symptoms so that you can be assessed to see whether there is a need for us to be treated and to be admitted. Sometimes it can be misleading, you feel a bit weak, you feel a bit tired and you think you are resting the next time you know it you have so much shortness of breath. That if you can’t stand up from your couch to the bathroom or to the bedroom you must know that it’s really quite late. That means your oxygen circulation has dropped significantly.”

Meanwhile, Mkhize has expressed concern that the infections in the second wave of the pandemic could surpass the numbers seen during the festive season.

South Africa has so far recorded over 1.3 million infections and just over 37 000 COVID-19 related fatalities.

Mkhize is conducting oversight visits to some provinces beginning with KwaZulu-Natal. He says the main area of concern is Gauteng where people will come back to work which could bring a resurgence of the virus.

“I will be moving up to a few other provinces. I will be visiting Limpopo and Gauteng because that’s really where we see the numbers have gone up. If you look at Limpopo, the numbers there are more than what they were in the previous peak in June. If you look at Gauteng, the peak is almost the same as what it was in June, we were just worried about the fact that moving from the holidays people are going to be moving up to Gauteng and that’s going to give us huge amounts of resurgence in that particular part of the country. “

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