Associate Professor Joel Dave, Head of Endocrinology at Groote Schuur Hospital says diabetics who suffer coronavirus symptoms, should present themselves for testing as soon as they start feeling ill and not wait for the symptoms to worsen.
Professor Dave says this will provide doctors with more time to treat and save them from dying.
An analysis by the Western Cape Department of Health of about 2 200 fatalities, has found that nearly half had pre-existing diabetes conditions.
Dave says most diabetics are only tested for the coronavirus when they are admitted to the hospital.
“65% of all people living with diabetes who die from COVID-19 in the hospital are actually tested on the day of their admission or during their admission. So, this presents us with a small moment of opportunity that if we could try and encourage people living with diabetes to present earlier when their symptoms are less severe, then perhaps it will give doctors a moment of opportunity to intervene.”
Western Cape Department of Health Spokesperson Mark van der Heever says around 500 people, who died from COVID-19 complications in the province, also had three or more comorbidities.
He says people with underlying conditions should take extra precautions to protect themselves from the virus.
“If they develop COVID-19 symptoms they should go for immediate testing. They shouldn’t delay it and they should also look after themselves by following a healthy lifestyle and if they are on medication to take their medication regularly so that we can protect them; we can shield them, because should they contract COVID-19 they are at severe risk for severe COVID illness and also fatal deaths.”
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town says it is rolling out mobile COVID-19 testing booths across the metro to increase the number of tests for vulnerable people.
Mayoral Member for Health, Zahid Badroodien, says the booths will be set up at 17 clinics in areas like Langa, Wallacedene and Manenberg.
“Our new testing booths will allow us to conduct tests with an added layer of safety for both the person conducting the test and the person being tested. Importantly, it will allow us to save valuable Personal Protection Equipment as there is a worldwide shortage at present. The testing booths are designed for a single operator who will not need to don PPE whilst testing although a surgical mask is still recommended.”
According to the Western Cape government’s COVID-19 dashboard, the province currently has around 15 000 active COVID-19 cases.
Just over 70 000 recoveries have been recorded with the total number of confirmed cases standing on around 85 000.
Around 2 700 COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded in the province, while about 379 000 tests for the virus have been conducted.