Statement by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize:
South Africa has a daily surveillance system which monitors the key indicators for resurgence and the main indicators that we monitor are mainly:
1) Daily positive cases
2) Positivity rate (positive tests divided by total tests done)
3) Hospital admissions
For ease of comparison, we normally report on trends and we do the 7 day average as daily cases fluctuate and are hence not very useful. In the last reporting week (3-9 May 2021) we have noted the following:
There was an increase in new cases from 8 593 cases in the preceding seven days (26th April – 2nd May) to 12 531 cases in the last seven days (3rd – 9th May) constituting a 46% increase.
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 7 days followed by Gauteng at 63%, Limpopo at 47%, North West at 42% and Western Cape at 39%.
The new COVID-19 related deaths increased by 18,22% in the last 7 days (3 -9 May) to 318 from 269 in the preceding 7 days (26th April – 2nd May). 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.
There were 25 health care workers who tested positive in the last 7 days (3rd – 9th May). 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. Health care workers constitute 3.51% of all cases of COVID-19 reported in the country. Accumulatively, a total of 874 deaths have been recorded among the health care workers (CFR= 1.56 %).
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.
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
As the country we are on high alert and we know that the main drivers of the new wave will either be the resurgence of new variants and/or the 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.
So we want to assure South Africans that we have not yet hit the third wave however we are at risk and we hence need to be on heightened vigilance as a country.