MINISTER of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya has announced that the country has recorded 251 new cases of COVID-19, with one facility death in Mbala in the last 24 hours.

And Dr Chilufya says so far, 76 per cent of deaths recorded in the country are Brought-In-Dead.

Speaking during the daily briefing, Sunday, Dr Chilufya said the country also recorded 120 recoveries, bringing the cumulative total to 10,062.

“In the last 24 hours, Zambia has recorded 251 new cases of COVID-19 from 1,515 tests done bringing the total number of cases to 11,082 cases. The 251 cases that we picked out included 153 cases identified through routine screening, in Lusaka there were 67, Ndola 37, Livingstone 16, Kalulushi 14, Kabwe six, Monze five, Chikankata two, Kalomo two, Kazungula two, Mazabuka one and Solwezi one. 54 cases were known contacts in Lusaka 19, Choma 10, Ndola seven, Mazabuka six, Livingstone five, Kitwe three, Monze three and Kazungula one. 30 were picked through hospital screening, in Lusaka 21, Kitwe eight and Livingstone one. 16 truck drivers, in Livingstone eight and Kazungula eight. Currently, we have 58 patients admitted to Levy Mwanawasa covid facility and 35 of these are on oxygen therapy, two are in critical condition in ICU. Outside Lusaka in the various covid facilities, we have a total of 36 patients who are admitted to these facilities and seven of these are on oxygen. The cumulative number of deaths after we lost one patient in Mbala has now risen to 280. 120 patients have been discharged from our facilities with those discharged, we have crossed the 10,000 mark of those that we have discharged bringing the total number of discharges to 10,062,” he said.

And Dr Chilufya said majority of BIDs were from Lusaka’s Chawama, Kanyama, Matero and Chipata compounds.

“Our latest statistics show that we have 280 deaths from the time that COVID-19 started in Zambia which translates to a case fatality of 2.5 percent. Of the 280 deaths, 87 have been classified as COVID-19 deaths while 193 are classified as covid related deaths. We have also noted that amongst the 280 deaths, 212 have been brought in dead indicating that 76 percent of the deaths that we have recorded are occurring in the community. Previous analysis showed that there is a high concentration of BIDs in the high density areas of Lusaka, particularly in Chawama, Kanyama, Matero and Chipata compound. Now, further analysis at the University Teaching Hospital showed that from January to July 2020, we recorded a total of 4,339 BIDs compared to 3,711 BIDs reported over the same period in 2019,” said Dr Chilufya.

“1,563 BIDs were tested for SARS-COV-2 from April to August 2020 and 212 of these BIDs were positive for SARS-COV-2 representing a positivity rate of 13.6 percent at the University teaching Hospital. Country men and women, community deaths are of great concern, these are individuals who have tested positive regardless of the immediate cause of death, therefore these deaths reflect not only significant community transmission that we now have but also poor and delayed access to our health facilities. Furthermore, these BIDs have contacts themselves who remain at risk of both acquiring COVID-19 and spreading COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, director infectious diseases Professor Lloyd Mulenga said blood groups were not a factor in determining the extent of sickness when one contracts COVID-19.

“What we know so far about the blood groups is that the blood group A in one study in China has been associated with lower risk of getting positive if someone is blood group A, they have a lower risk of getting infected with COVID-19 and also blood group B and AB have been found to have lower risk, but this is of getting the infection and blood group O was found also to have a lower risk. However, another study showed that a large one of close to more than 1,300 individuals in the US across four different hospitals found that Blood group O may have a lower risk of getting the infection, blood group A, no association then blood group AB associated also with a higher risk. However, even those patients who have the COVID-19, those who were blood group, the blood group had no role in determining if someone is going to have severe disease and also if someone is going to have increased risk of death. So the point is that even as the different blood groups may have an effect on acquisition, no blood group is protective of getting COVID-19,” said Prof Mulenga.

“Then also those living with blood group O, if they get the infection, there is no protection for them to have severe disease and also to be intubated and for them to die. So what we need to emphasise here is whichever blood group someone may have, they can get COVID-19 and once they get covid, there is no way of determining if they are going to have severe disease or just mild disease or if they are going to die.”