Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | 148 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 despite the high number of positive cases being reported, this is according to records from the Ministry of Health.
According to records, as of December 25, over 148 positive cases are admitted nationwide in treatment facilities despite over 5,400 cases reported in the week 20-26 December 2021.
Dr. Rose Byanyimma, the Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital and also the head of the COVID-19 treatment facility says they have few patients at the hospital.
“At Mulago, we have 30 patients admitted as of yesterday and of these only 2 are admitted to the ICU while others are at the High Dependency Unit. We are seeing few patients at the moment compared to before but this situation can easily change,” she said.
Some other hospitals in the country with covid-19 cases include Entebbe with 118 cases as of Monday. The Principal Hospital Administrator, Muhammed Mubiru says the patients are all receiving care.
Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, the Executive Director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute says that despite the low number of people admitted due to the disease, the public needs to remain cautious.
“Sequencing that we have recently carried out shows that Omicron is now the dominant variant in the country but we are still studying the variant to find out more about it. But as we do this, people should not panic. This variant is just like is SARS-COV 2 and can be prevented by wearing a mask, washing hands, and avoiding public places,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization, the Omicron variant is transmissible by 30 times. The variant however is likely to show more symptoms than the Delta variant.
During the second wave when the Delta variant was more prevalent in the country, the demand for oxygen rose. A cylinder of medical oxygen that previously costs 100,000 shillings went for as high as 1 Million Shillings.
Dr. Byanyima intimated that patients infected with the Omicron variant might not need oxygen.
“During Delta, many patients had low levels of oxygen and needed support, that is why there was an increase in demand for it but now what we see is that many of these patients don’t require oxygen but present with other symptoms.”
Dr. Byanyima says that the most common symptom that patients show is a headache and body weakness. She says many of the patients are willing to stay longer in the hospital compared to others before during previous waves.
According to WHO, the Omicron variant has been reported in over 118 countries in the world. While the variant seems to spread faster than other variants of concern, the rate at which it causes the severe or critical disease is lower.