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Sustained increase in SA’s COVID-19 cases, Tshwane identified as a hotspot

There has been been an increase in Tshwane, Gauteng, particularly in the 10–29 age group over the past week.

There has been been an increase in Tshwane, Gauteng, particularly in the 10–29 age group over the past week.

Published Nov 22, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The National Institute For Communicable Diseases (NICD) has observed an increase in the seven-day moving average for new COVID-19 cases.

The NICD said there has been been an increase in Tshwane, Gauteng, particularly in the 10–29 age group over the past week. Additionally, it recently identified a cluster in the 20–44 age group at an institute of higher education in Tshwane.

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“We are monitoring these trends to see if these increases persist,” NICD acting executive director, Prof Adrian Puren said.

“Localised increases in case numbers or clusters are not unexpected; however, it is hard to say whether the increases indicate the start of a widespread resurgence,” he said.

Previous waves have been driven to a large extent by the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants – Beta in the second wave and Delta in the third.

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“Genomic sequencing in South Africa has, to date, not yet detected the emergence of any new variants which are making up an increasing proportion of the sequences,” Puren added.

There are some delays inherent in molecular sequencing, due to transport of samples and the time taken to process them, the NICD noted.

Head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, Dr Michelle Groome said: “It is difficult to predict the magnitude and timing of a potential COVID-19 resurgence. However, we implore the unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine, especially the elderly and those with co-morbidities.”

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She said vaccination and prior infection provided good protection against developing severe disease. While there may be an increase in future case numbers, the number of hospitalisations and deaths were expected to be less severe in comparison to previous resurgences, she noted.

The National Department of Health reports that 41% of adults in South Africa have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 35% fully vaccinated.

The South African government has reported 89 572 COVID-19 related deaths on the Department of Health website.

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Cape Times

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