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Possible indicators of Covid-19 resurgence detected – NICD

Healthcare workers prepare a Covid-19 test sample. Image: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Healthcare workers prepare a Covid-19 test sample. Image: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Published Apr 23, 2022

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While experts say it is too early to determine if South Africa is entering its fifth wave, an increase in Covid-19 cases has been noted with some indicators pointing towards a possible resurgence.

Executive Director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), Prof Adrian Puren, said they do expect to see an increase in cases.

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“An early warning indicator, wastewater detection surveillance, shows an increase in Gauteng. However, no marked change in hospitalizations and deaths which are lag indicators,” said Puren.

On Friday the NICD reported 4 631 new Covid-19 cases which represents a 17.8% positivity rate.

In first two weeks of April, the country’s positivity rate ranged between 5 to 9%.

The majority of new cases are from Gauteng with 51% followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 22% and the Western Cape accounted for 13%.

“It is difficult to predict a resurgence as multiple factors play a role. We have noted an increase in percent testing positive (PTP) but there is no dramatic increase in the 7-day moving average.”

Puren said there is currently no evidence that the Omicron variant of concern is being displaced as the dominant circulating variant.

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The current dominant subvariant is BA.2, however, BA.4 and BA.5 have also been detected in the country.

The high levels of population immunity due to previous infection and vaccination are factors likely to offer greater protection against severe disease, he continued.

Puren said that it would be difficult to ascribe the increase in cases to the long Easter weekend as there was an increase in percent testing positive prior to the holidays.

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“Nevertheless, it is likely that with increased mobilisation and likely relaxation of the non-pharmaceutical interventions will contribute to the PTP observed.”

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