Govt reports rise in Covid-19 cases

Busiki County MP Paul Akamba undergoes screening for Covid-19 at Parliament on July 16, 2020.  The ministry plans to expand Covid-19 monitoring sites to boost testing of Covid-19 in the community. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Since the outbreak of the disease in the country in 2020, 171,377 cumulative cases and cumulative 3632 deaths have been reported, with over 100,000 recovering from the contagious disease. Up to 26,484,543 individuals have also been vaccinated, according to data from the ministry.

The Ministry of Health has said the reported number of Covid-19 cases in the country has increased from 159 in April to 641 in May.

This information is contained in an epidemiology report which Dr Daniel Kyabayinze, the head of public health at the ministry, shared with this publication yesterday.
“There has been a slight increase in cases despite suboptimal testing, and low-risk perception in the community,” the report reads.

The report also indicates that the positivity rate – the chance of finding a positive case among 100 people tested – increased from 0.8 percent in April to 3.5 percent 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.

He added: “We see that the test positivity rate is now rising to 3.5 percent 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.”
However, there was no 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 Covid-19 incident commander, 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.
Dr Kyobe also said the infections are being driven by a “milder form” of the coronavirus variant Omicron. 

“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.”

“But what we recommend is that whoever has 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,” he said.

The ministry also said in the epidemiology report that owing to rising cases, they are also planning to expand Covid-19 monitoring sites to 100 sites to boost testing of Covid-19 in the community.
“We believe this will provide the true epidemiological picture of Covid-19 transmission in our population,” the report reads further.
Dr Kyobe also told this publication that the evidence they have at the moment indicates that the likelihood of Covid-19 resurgence is very low.