Concern as KZN Covid-19 infections continues to increase

Concern as KZN Covid-19 infections continues to increase


DURBAN – KWAZULU-NATAL recorded more than 5 000 new Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks.

On Sunday, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said about a month ago the province was registering an average of 130 to 150 new Covid-19 cases and at times infections would be as low as between 70 and 80.

Zikalala said over the last two weeks the province recorded more than 500 new cases on some days and more than 400 on others.

“In the past two weeks, the overall percentage change in the number of new cases between week 24 and 25 was 40%. The actual number of new cases was 1 772 for week 24 and 2 943 for week 25,” Zikalala said.

He said the province had crossed the resurgence line on June 9, 2021, then dropped below the alert threshold the next day. On June 15, the alert line was crossed again but the province has remained below the threshold since June 16.

“In terms of our emergency early warning systems, a 10% increase in cases over a seven-day moving average will trigger an alert; while a 20% increase in cases over a seven-day moving average will trigger resurgence, which may indicate that we are entering a third wave of Covid-19 infections,” Zikalala said.

He said the eThekwini, uMgungundlovu, uThukela, Amajuba and uMzinyathi districts continued to receive the highest number of daily cases. Only the Harry Gwala District recorded a decline in the past week at 64%.

Zikalala added that of the 589 new cases recorded on Saturday, the eThekwini district recorded 37% followed by uThukela (14%), uMgungundlovu (12%) and Amajuba (6%) districts.

“The average number of cases received in the past seven days was 459 cases/day, while the median number of cases was 338 cases per day,” he said.

He said the number of hospital isolations also fluctuated, with a slight increase in daily admissions in both the private and public sector, including the intensive care unit (ICU) cases and patients needing ventilation.

“As of June 19, 2021, the province had 677 patients admitted in both private (554 or 82%) and public (123 or 18%) hospitals. Of those admitted, 110 or 17% of the patients required intensive care services. Private hospitals had more patients in ICU at 106 or 96% than public facilities, which had four patients, amounting to 4%,” Zikalala said.

On the vaccination front, Zikalala said they had prepared 359 vaccination sites for the Pfizer vaccine and 91 vaccination sites for teachers who would receive the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

“The province is now vaccinating 13000 people per day. We are intensifying vaccination of the elderly and increasing more capacity in our rural areas,” Zikalala said.

The premier said that as of Friday they had vaccinated 362 226 senior citizens and 127 501 health workers, while the total number of senior citizens registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) was at 501 210.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the J&J vaccines had arrived and were being distributed to all provinces and these had confirmed on Saturday that they were ready for the vaccination programme.

“The vaccination programme will start on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, and it will continue until Thursday, July 8, 2021, a day before schools close to mark the end of the second school term,” Motshekga said.

Those to be vaccinated will all be Persal staff at all public schools and school governing body appointed teachers and teachers employed by independent schools registered in terms of the SA Schools Act.

Motshekga said a strict registration would be followed.

Persal staff details were already captured on to the EVDS.

Lists for appointed SGB appointees and independent school teachers would be loaded onto the EVDS.

On-site data capturing would be required for individual’s cell numbers and medical aid details. There would be no on-site registrations.

She added that vaccinations included:

• Staff who transport pupils to and from schools.

• Staff who support the school feeding scheme (food handlers).

• Staff who conduct remote teaching programmes.

• Teacher union staff and other contracted staff who provide security, do cleaning and other functions at school.

On Friday, the Health Department’s deputy director-general Dr Nicholas Crisp said police officers would be vaccinated after teachers.

Crisp said they had identified 145 000 officials and 36 000 civilians working in the police service. Vaccination sites would be set up at police stations in collaboration with licensed pharmacies.

He said the 300 000 J&J vaccines for teachers would not be enough for them but the next consignment would arrive this week from the United States.

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