New Forensic Pathology Services fleet will improve response times - KZN Health MEC (Concern over rising COVID-19 infections as province approaches 1500 new cases per day)

04 July 2021

KWAZULU-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane says the recent handing over of 16 brand new vehicles to medico-legal mortuaries across the province will improve response times for the collection of mortal remains, securing the dignity of the deceased and their families.

The latest addition to the Province's fleet brings to 128 the number of operational Forensic Pathology Services vehicles in the province. It includes two brand-new disaster trucks that are able to carry up to 12 bodies at a time, and have chillers that can be plugged into an electric socket to expand capacity; while the remaining bakkies can carry a maximum of 4 bodies each. The entire investment is valued at R13m.

Speaking at an official hand-over ceremony, held at the Dumbe Community Health Centre - in keeping with Level 4 regulations - on Friday, MEC Simelane said she was pleased to have met and interacted with FPS staff; adding that this was one of many upcoming efforts to improve service delivery and working conditions within this critical sector.

"Our Forensic Pathology Services staff perform work that is of an extremely sensitive nature, on a daily basis...Work which is essential. In addressing issues faced by workers in this sector, we've decided to start by attending to their vehicles, which form part of their tools of trade.

"We know that theirs is an old fleet, where vehicles are sometimes not able to function optimally. This ends up affecting their ability to respond timeously when called up to collect mortal remains. We've therefore started a process of adding to the existing fleet of vehicles. Due to the fact that we do not have enough financial resources, we will be buying more vehicles every financial year."

The MEC also sounded alarm bells over the rising rate of new COVID - 19 infections in KZN, which is fast-approaching the 1500 mark for the first time in months.

Over the past 24-hour reporting period, KwaZulu-Natal has registered 1 473 new COVID - 19 cases, bringing to 358 997 the total number of confirmed cases. The province currently has 15 729 active cases, while 10 731 people have sadly succumbed to the virus. There have been 331 673 recoveries.

Meanwhile, the province’s COVID - 19 programme continues in earnest.

As of Friday, 02 July 2021, KwaZulu-Natal had vaccinated 434 914 people aged 60 and above; 132 799 health workers; as well as 88 828 educators. The total number of active vaccination sites currently stands at 177.

MEC Simelane has once again pleaded with the public to help avert the spread of COVID – 19 by adhering to non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as the wearing of masks, regular washing of hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser, and practicing social distancing of at least 2m.

She has also encouraged senior citizens aged 60 and above to register for vaccinations. Those who encounter challenges are advised to present themselves at vaccination sites, where they will get registered and vaccinated.

ENDS Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health

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This page last edited on 05 July, 2021

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