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Diabetics with Covid-19 at great risk of needing critical care

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"While there is no data to suggest that patients with diabetes are at an increased risk of infection with the virus, all published observational studies ... show an association between diabetes and increased morbidity and mortality from Covid-19.”

File image. Photo: IANS

Cape Town – Preliminary data from the province shows that diabetics diagnosed with Covid-19 are more likely to require admission to hospital and critical care, according to Professor Joel Dave, head of the endocrinology division at Groote Schuur Hospital/UCT.

Speaking during the provincial government’s weekly digital news conference (Digicon), Dave said: “People living with diabetes do not have an increased risk of being infected with Covid-19, but once they are diagnosed with the virus, they have a greater risk of requiring admission to hospital, have a greater risk of needing critical care and have a greater mortality.

“While there is no data to suggest that patients with diabetes are at an increased risk of infection with the virus, all published observational studies, including data from the province, show an association between diabetes and increased morbidity and mortality from Covid-19,” said Dave.

“It appears that diabetics who have a well-controlled condition suffer less severely with Covid-19 and are less at risk of death from Covid-19 than those who have poorly controlled diabetes.

” It is therefore imperative that diabetics strive for good diabetes control,” said Dave.

“In the province, diabetics are presenting for testing late in their Covid-19 disease course.”

About 80% of people living with diabetes who are admitted to hospital for Covid-19 are tested for the first time on the day of admission.

Dave said that as a result, the “Western Cape Department of Health has instituted an action plan for
diabetics in an attempt to decrease morbidity and mortality in this group.”

Abandoning his sick bed to make an appearance at the first Digicon a week since he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, Premier Alan Winde said: “I am still on bed rest, but this is a subject close to my heart as I am a diabetic.”

Winde said: “I have tested the
system myself.

“It was amazing to see the urgency that was put in once they knew I was positive and a diabetic.”

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Cape Argus