Mkhize says third wave has not yet hit SA
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Durban - Despite an increase in Covid-19 cases, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday that South Africa has not hit its third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are at risk and we hence need to be on heightened vigilance as a country," Mkhize said.
He said the department is on high alert and know that the main drivers of the new wave will either be the resurgence of new variants and/or fatigue from adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI).
"To counter these we are working closely with our genomic sequencing team to ensure that we are able to pick up the new variants earlier. For NPIs we are continuously communicating with communities to adhere to NPIs," Mkhize said.
Mkhize said there has been a 46% increase in cases in the last two weeks.
"The 14-days comparisons also showed that the cases increased from 17 017 in the preceding 14 days to 21 124 cases in the last 14 days, an overall 24% increase. All provinces showed a positive percentage increase with Northern Cape showing a 68% increase in the last seven days followed by Gauteng at 63%, Limpopo at 47%, North West at 42% and Western Cape at 39%," Mkhize said.
He said the number of Covid-related deaths has increased by 18.22% in the last week.
"However, the 14-days comparison showed the deaths decreased by 28 93% to 587 in the last 14 days compared to 826 in the preceding 14 days. The cumulative case fatality ratio is 3.43% (54 735/1 596 595). Eastern Cape (21%), Gauteng (20%), KwaZulu-Natal (19%) and Western Cape (21%) account for 81% of all reported deaths," Mkhize explained.
The minister said there were 25 healthcare workers (HCW) who tested positive in the last seven days.
"Cumulatively, 56 059 HCW have tested positive, of these 14.35% (7 839/56 059) required admission, 6 881 (87.78%) have been discharged, and 83 currently admitted," Mkhize said.
He said healthcare workers constitute 3.51% of all cases of Covid-19 reported in the country.
Cumulatively, a total of 874 deaths have been recorded among healthcare workers. Hospital admissions have not shown an increase.
"As much as these figures are worrying, our resurgence dashboard, which was developed by the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium, which is updated thrice a week, still shows that we have not as the country reached a resurgence threshold though some districts in the country are fast approaching the threshold," he said.
In the meantime, the National Department of Health is working with provinces to update their resurgence plans to ensure that these are activated, and these plans mainly focus on the following:
• Case management
• Contact tracing.
• Oxygen availability
• Bed capacity (general beds and intensive care beds)
• Respiratory support equipment
• Human resources