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Covid positivity rate spikes, Omicron subvariant BA.4 present in Gauteng, eThekwini and Free State

Published May 8, 2022

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Cape Town - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Saturday reported 8 524 new Covid-19 cases, representing a 31.1% positivity rate as infections rocket nationally.

On Friday, the NICD reported 9 253 new Covid-19 cases, representing a 26.6% positivity rate.

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“The majority of new cases are from Gauteng (39%) followed by KwaZulu-Natal (27%). The Western Cape accounted for 16%; the Eastern Cape for 6%; Free State for 5%; Mpumalanga for 3%; the Northern Cape and North West each accounted for 2% respectively; and Limpopo accounted for 1% of (Saturday’s) new cases.

“The 7-day average is (23.8%) today, and is higher than yesterday (22.5%),” the NICD said.

A total of 100 516 deaths have been recorded with 2 634 people currently admitted to hospitals.

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According to the NICD’s latest wastewater-based surveillance report, the areas served by the wastewater treatment plants that have been showing high levels of SARS-CoV-2 in the past weeks are beginning to show a corresponding increase in clinical cases.

“In Gauteng, the SARS-CoV-2 levels in Daspoort WWTP (Tshwane South) and Rooiwal WWTPs (Tshawane North) have remained high for six and five consecutive weeks respectively.

“In the city of Johannesburg, the levels at the Goudkoppies WWTP have also remained stable at high levels. Sustained increases (four weeks) were observed in Vlakplaats WWTP in Ekurhuleni South, while a further increase at Hartebeesfontein in Ekurhuleni North, was observed after being stable the previous week.

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“The high levels of SARS-CoV-2 at the central WWTP in eThekwini metro, Kwazulu-Natal, have also remained stable. In Bloemfontein sub-district, Free State, the wastewater levels of SARS-CoV-2 have further increased at both Sterkwater and Bloemspruit WWTPs. In Buffalo City Metro, Eastern Cape province, the levels at East Bank WWTP have further increased while the levels at Mdantsane WWTP have remained stable.”

The NICD said sequencing data showed the presence of the Omicron variant in all recent samples across South Africa with evidence of the new Omicron subvariant BA.4 present in Gauteng, eThekwini and the Free State.

“While some mutations associated with the Delta variant were also present, the significance of these remains unclear,” the report reads. - Cape Times

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