HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says Zambia has recorded its second COVID-19 death, a 50-year-old man who died at the University Teaching Hospital.

During his the national address yesterday, President Edgar Lungu said government was investigating a patient who died in suspicious circumstances at UTH.

And speaking during the daily COVID-19 update today, Dr Chilufya confirmed that investigations had indicated that 50-year-old who resided in Kafue died of COVID-19 and had become Zambia’s 40th confirmed positive case.

“This investigation involved a 50-year-old hypertensive man with a chronic cardiac condition who comes from Kafue who was referred to the University Teaching Hospital in an cautious state on Sunday the 5th of April. UTH received the patient and did resuscitate and incubate the patient in casualty department and immediately referred the patient to the intensive care unit where he was hooked up to a ventilator. This patient remained on the ventilator until the third day when he passed on. This patient, because of the high index of suspicion, was being managed from an isolation unit, a side ward in the intensive care unit and samples were taken for various investigations; what you call a sepsis screen including screening for COVID-19 and the day that he passed, he did get the result that COVID-19 indeed was positive in this patient. So, therefore, Zambia records the second COVID-19 death in the patient that passed on in the isolation unit of the intensive care ward. We did confirm by autopsy that this person did indeed die of COVID-19 from the samples that we took,” Dr Chilufya said.

He said the Ministry had mounted investigations and identified close contacts to the deceased.

“We have mounted investigations; we have started conducting a robust tracing program and we have contacted all the close contacts. He was staying alone and we have contacted anybody who might have come into close contact in the due course of his illness and in the last few days of his illness. So these contacts have been swabbed and their samples are being investigated and we will get the results by tomorrow. We have provided very high level dispatched to the area to ensure that we do robust contact tracing in the area. Furthermore, the intensive care unit has been fumigated and all the staff that came into contact with the patient quarantined and equally swabbed and equally being investigated. There should be no cause of alarm and we are going to keep the nation informed on the result of this robust investigation,” he said.

“He had been attending outpatients at various hospitals including Kafue and the time that he came at UTH, he was unconscious. The patient came in a severe state and the patient however during his visits to the outpatients departments, yes, objective history is telling us of him having complained of symptoms that relate to the general conditions that we have of Malaria and to what he was suffering from chronically. Objective history again does not bring out very strong epidemiological leakages with people who could have had this virus. The investigation is ongoing and we establish the contacts we are getting more information.”

And the Minister said out of the 22 tests carried out yesterday, no positive results were recorded.

“In the last 24 hours, we did conduct 22 tests and we did not record any positive from those 22 tests. Therefore, we have remained at the cumulative number 40 having admitted of one more person to the statistics and we have moved our death toll to two. We have discharged one more patient in the last 24 hours and therefore, that brings our cumulative discharges to 25. This means that our patient in admission now remain at 13 and all these patients remain stable except for one who intermittently requires oxygen by nasal cavity, otherwise he is not deteriorating,” said Dr Chilufya.