KWAZULU-NATAL is ready to battle the Covid-19 third wave, and the Delta variant that has now been detected in six districts, said Premier Sihle Zikalala on Wednesday.
He briefed the media on plans to combat the Covid-19 third wave and fend off the Delta variant in the province.
The six districts that have become the epicentre of the Delta variant are Harry Gwala, eThekwini, Zululand, King Cetshwayo, Ugu, and Ilembe.
“We have developed our battle plan against this deadly variant,” Zikalala said.
In the last 24 hours, the province recorded 483 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases to 352 401, of those, 10 532 are active cases, with 330 316 recoveries. A total of 10 689 people have died in the province, due to Covid-19 related complications.
The average number of cases recorded in the past seven days was 753 cases per day.
KZN observed a 37% increase in cases in the past two weeks, which amounted to 2 145 cases. The actual number of new cases recorded was 3 159 in week 25 and 5 034 in week 26.
“We are observing that five districts are on resurgence eThekwini, uThukela, uMgungundlovu, Amajuba and uMzinyathi. It is now a race against the third wave for us in these districts,” Zikalala said.
About 15 000 nurses, administration clerks, cleaners, porters, specialists and data capturers have been employed on a contractual basis to help boost capacity to fight the spread of the pandemic.
The province currently had 2 494 isolation beds, 1 411 quarantine beds, and four field hospitals with more than 682 beds.
As of June 28, 2021, 878 patients were admitted in both public and private health care facilities – 143 of those patients are in the intensive care unit, while 168 are on oxygen.
All field hospitals have been fully fitted with oxygen, consisting of 361 points. The upgrading of oxygen regulators has been completed at some of their regional hospitals.
“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 shortages, which can be a matter of life and death,” Zikalala said.
“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 contingency measures that we have put in place to avoid shortages, will see us through these tough times,” said Zikalala.
Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Peggy Nkonyeni said they resuscitated their provincial joint operations centre and adjusted their law enforcement plan for alert level 4.
“We will make sure that we secure the points of entry. We will also conduct roadblocks and vehicle checkpoints, to monitor adherence to the curfew, and we also visit taverns and all liquor outlets,” said Nkonyeni.
“We will also disperse illegal gatherings, including public protests, that are always happening because our teams will be working in all 54 municipalities, and in all wards in the KZN province.”
Inspections of businesses and construction sites would also be conducted to ensure regulation adherence. Closing times of establishments will be monitored, patrols will be conducted and public facilities will also be monitored to ensure there are no gatherings.