File Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)
File Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Concern as Covid-19 Delta variant spreads to six KZN districts

By Lee Rondganger Time of article published Jun 30, 2021

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Durban - The highly contagious delta variant of the Covid-19 virus has spread across KwaZulu-Natal and was now is six of the 10 districts including the eThekwini Metro.

This was revealed by Premier Sihle Zikalala during a press briefing on Wednesday. Addressing the province’s response to tackling a surge in new infections driven by the Delta variant, Zikalala said the variant was detected in the Harry Gwala district, eThekwini, Zululand, King Cetshwayo, Ugu, Ilembe.

“Now is the time for us to unite, consolidate our efforts and re-calibrate our battle plan as we go to war against this new variant, and the lingering threat of a third wave of Covid-19 infections,” Zikalala said.

It comes as 483 new Covid-19 infections were reported in the province in the past 24 hours bringing the total number of reported cases to 352 401.

The average number of cases recorded in the past seven days was 753 cases per day while the province observed a 37% increase of cases in the past two weeks, which amounts to 2 145 cases.

Zikalala noted that the actual number of new cases recorded was 3 159 for week 25 and 5 034 for week 26, which began yesterday.

The increase in the number of new cases occurred in 10 of the 11 districts across the province, with the exception of Harry Gwala District.

The province currently has 10 532 active cases, and seen 10 689 deaths due to the virus.

The number of recoveries currently stands at 330 316 people.

Zikalala said that five districts in KZN were on the resurgence - Ethekwini, Uthukela, Umgungundlovu, Amajuba and Umzinyathi - and it was “now a race against the third wave for us in these districts”.

He said that as part of the province’s “battle plan” they had brought in 15 000 extra staff that included nurses, cleaners and admin staff on contracts.

“We have reassessed our bed capacity to accommodate patients. The Province currently has 2 494 isolation beds, as well as 1411 quarantine beds that are dedicated to COVID-19. These beds will be repurposed if and when the need arises.

All in all, our 4 field hospitals have a total of more than 682 beds,” Zikalala said.

As of Monday the province had 878 patients admitted to both public and private healthcare facilities.

Of those admitted, 143 patients (16%) are in ICU, while 168 are on oxygen.

Ziklala said they had established bed monitoring centres (bureaus) in all Districts, which monitor bed utilization and bed availability. To ensure accuracy of the statistics in this regard, all information is collated and updated on a daily basis.

All our field hospital such as Ngwelezane, Justice Gizenga Mpanza (formerly Stanger), Clairwood Hospital, as well as the Pietermaritzburg Royal Show Grounds; have been fully-fitted with oxygen, consisting of 361 points.

The upgrading of oxygen regulators has been completed at some of our regional hospitals, such as Edendale, RK Khan, Madadeni and Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, Zikalala said.

“Our system has been further boosted by the installation of a web-based Oxygen Cylinder Management and Ordering System. This enables us to ensure that oxygen is ordered timeously, and to avoid the shortages, which can be a matter of life and death. We are also in regular and direct contact with our contracted oxygen supplier, Afrox, to ensure that any threats to the supply of oxygen are identified and resolved early. We are confident that the oxygen capacity; oxygen management systems; as well as the contingency measures that we have put in place to avoid shortages, will see us through these tough times,” Zikalala said.

In terms of the province’s vaccination roll-out, the latest figures show that as of Monday, 416 967 senior citizens; 68 748 educators, as well as 130 546 health workers had been jabbed.

The total number of senior citizens who are currently registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System currently stands at 553 279, from a target of just over 955 000 that need to be vaccinated.

The number of vaccination sites that we have now prepared for the Pfizer vaccine is 359; whereas for educators, KZN has prepared 102 vaccination sites.

“All in all, we currently have 152 active sites for both vaccines… the province is now vaccinating an average 12 000 people per day. We are intensifying vaccination of the elderly, and also increasing capacity in our rural areas,” Zikalala said.

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