KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

KwaZulu-Natal is officially in its fourth wave of Covid-19 infections

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published Dec 5, 2021

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KwaZulu-Natal has officially entered the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections as the province recorded a significant and alarming climb in the number of daily cases in the last week.

While the number of infections have rapidly increased in the last seven days, the rate of hospitalisations has also increased, including patients who require ICU and ventilation.

The districts showing high infection rates for the past seven days are eThekwini, Umgungundlovu and Amajuba.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala attributed the new wave of infections to the Omicron variant.

In a media briefing on Sunday, Zikalala said the current number of infections was twice the number received two weeks ago.

Three weeks ago, the province had a positivity rate of 0.7%, but as of Sunday, the positivity rate has jumped to 12.7%.

The province started receiving more than 100 cases per day from November 26, while the average number of cases received daily rose from 47 to 362 cases per day.

The incidence risk per 100 000 population has also increased from 3 to 18 cases per 100 000 population in the past seven days. The increase in numbers contributed to an increase in the seven-day moving average.

“All of these developments indicate that we have now entered the fourth wave. The rate of hospitalisations has also increased, including patients who require ICU and ventilation. We can confirm that the vast majority of those patients who require treatment in ICU and ventilation are those who have not been vaccinated,” Zikalala said.

Further analysis of the provincial trends show that while there was no significant increase in the number of deaths, people above the age of 60 have registered more deaths, while there has been a notable increase in the infection rate among those who are aged between 30 and 50.

The three leading comorbidities are still hypertension, diabetes and tuberculosis.

On Saturday alone, the province recorded a total of 1 002 new cases. This brings the number of cases since the first case was identified in March last year to 521 599.

As of Saturday, the province had a total of 381 patients who had been admitted in both private and public hospitals. Of those admitted, 26 patients required intensive care services.

The province has had a total of 14 798 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Within the province, eThekwini Metro Municipality continues to contribute 36% of the reported deaths.

The Province has a total of 3 355 isolation beds dedicated for Covid-19; 1 533 beds reserved for people under investigation and 117 ICU beds in public hospitals. The department will re-purpose more beds if the need arises, Zikalala said.

“With the advent of the highly infectious Omicron variant, we are pleading with citizens to get the jab, so that their bodies are able to fight the virus if it enters their body.

“We are concerned about the slower uptake of vaccinations in KwaZulu-Natal. We want to plead with citizens of the province to understand that the vaccines are safe, effective and available for free to save you. The only way we stand a chance of defeating Covid-19 is by getting everyone vaccinated,” he said.

The districts with the lowest vaccination rate include iLembe, Amajuba, Zululand, uThukela and King Cetshwayo.

[email protected]inl.co.za

Political Bureau

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