The Ministry of Health in Uganda on Thursday confirmed the country’s first COVID-19 death in a brief press conference at Kampala as confirmed cases rose to 1,079.
According to Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director general health services, the deceased was a 34-year-old Ugandan female, resident of Namisindwa District who presented with COVID-19-like signs and symptoms: fever, dry cough, headache, and difficulty in breathing.
She was initially admitted to Wasungui HC II on Wednesday (July 15, 2020) and treated for severe pneumonia. However, on Monday, 20th July 2020, she was transferred to Joy Hospice health facility, in Mbale District, where she was isolated in the female ward.
Her case gained traction after the ministry announced that she had died after testing positive for the coronavirus. Her samples had been taken for testing for the Uganda Virus Institute.
“Yesterday, we report the first death of COVID-19 but we hope it will be the only one in a very long time.
” Unfortunately, she passed on on Tuesday 21st July 2020 at 2:00 am. She was laid to rest today following the safe dignified burial procedures.
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A report from Wednesday 22nd July stated that she was not Uganda but the Ministry has since changed its position on her nationality and confirmed her as Ugandan.
According to the Ministry, the contacts of the deceased have already been reached out to and they include health workers and family. So far, 30 people have been reached out however the numbers may increase as the ministry continues to do its research.
“In our earlier report we had indicated that the deceased was not a Ugandan. Further investigations have since established that she was a Ugandan from Manafwa, Bubulo East, Namabya- Namunyali- Sisongofwa,” Dr Mwebesa told journalists in Kampala on Thursday.
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The postmortem samples from the deceased were confirmed positive for SARS-COV-2 by four laboratories: UVRI, CPHL, Tororo and Makerere.
“In addition, findings at postmortem showed features of acute pneumonia, findings that are consistent with COVID-19 infection,” he added.
The Namasindwa District Task Force has reportedly been reactivated to coordinate the district response.
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So far, 30 contacts to the deceased have been listed and placed under quarantine by the health authorities in Namisindwa and Mbale districts.
Dr Mwebesa said the listed contacts so far include family members, and healthcare workers, with the process of contact identification and listing still ongoing.
“We believe the number of contacts may increase as the extensive epidemiological investigation evolves,” he said.
“The contacts will be monitored daily for 14 days as per our protocol by district surveillance teams supported by Ministry of Health experts who will be deployed in the district,” Dr Mwebesa added.
Uganda’s COVID19 statistics stands as 1,079 cumulative confirmed cases of Ugandans and a total of 971 Ugandan recoveries.