PALAPYE: The Palapye Primary Hospital chief medical officer said on Friday last week that there has been a rapid rise in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the cluster.
Responding to The Monitor questionnaire on behalf of the District Health Management Team (DHMT), Dr Cosmas Assenga said the Serowe/Palapye region has to date registered cumulative number of 353 cases.
He said 81% of the cases were registered at Martin’s Drift border and the remaining 19% in Serowe/Palapye.
Assenga revealed that the youngest COVID-19 patient admitted was seven-months-old while the oldest was 60-years-old. He confirmed a single mortality.
The most people affected, he said, are males aged between 30 to 45 years of age. The affected citizens in the region are taken for isolation at Old Sekgoma Memorial Hospital for care and support. He said contact tracing was ongoing and some of the positive cases were detected during the process. “Majority of cases are recorded at the border and most are the foreign cargo truck drivers and a few Batswana truck drivers coming into the country,” Assenga revealed.
“Palapye is experiencing rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases with several cases of local transmissions.”
Assenga reckoned Palapye being in the centre and connecting other zones such as Greater Gaborone, Francistown, Selebi-Phikwe, as well as housing the major commercial Martin’s Drift border makes the village highly receptive to COVID-19 infections due to economic activities and a transit population.
He advised the public to change their lifestyles of being highly mobile, avoid risky behaviour and follow health protocols, as it would contribute to a reduction in the
Meanwhile, Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) returned to production after a partial five-day closure from October 6, following COVID-19 infections amongst some mine employees. The mine reported that until last midweek, 20 employees had tested positive for COVID-19 after more than 116 employees underwent testing.
MCM chief communications officer, Boineelo Seitshiro confirmed contact tracing was ongoing and is conducted by the DHMT.
She said other employees identified as primary contacts were placed on quarantine while awaiting their test results.
Seitshiro confirmed the mine was back in production post conducting all the necessary health and hygiene protocols of fumigating offices and mine equipment as well as intensifying health protocols.
She said production had been affected since the outbreak of the virus and had continued at a reduced pace, but confirmed supply to domestic customers was not affected.
“We continue to supply coal to essential services customers from our strategic stockpile to ensure that there are no interruptions experienced by these entities,” she said.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the mine immediately established measures to prevent the infection and spread of the virus.
Internal response team had been deployed instantly to assess COVID-19 risks and develop mitigation strategies, and weekly assessments conducted to reinforce compliance, Seitshiro said.
She further indicated that risk assessment and precautionary measures were put in place to avoid further spread and that communication with all concerned stakeholders was ongoing.