KwaZulu-Natal is recording a “concerning rise” in the number of new Covid-19 infections but the province has not yet entered the third wave of the pandemic, according to the latest statistics released by the provincial government.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala told journalists at a media briefing on Sunday that the province had recorded 227 new cases of Covid-19 during the past 24 hour reporting period. This brings the total of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 340 586 since the start of the pandemic. A total 10 534 people have died with the virus.
“The province of KwaZulu-Natal Province continues to observe an increase in the number of new cases recorded weekly, which is concerning,” Zikalala said.
“The overall percentage change in the number of new cases between week 21 and 22 was 24%. The actual number of new Covid-19 cases were 726 for week 21 and 900 for week 22 respectively,” he said.
“Amajuba District is the only district that has reached alert line and cases have been slightly increasing in the three previous week. eThekwini has also been receiving the highest number of cases, although it has not reached the alert line,” Zikalala said.
eThekwini continues to contribute the highest percentage of deaths, at 36% (3 843). Of the total deaths, 212 (2%) occurred at home. The median age for the deaths is 63. More than half of the deceased were female (54%). And, of the total deaths, 7 290 (69%) had comorbidities. Recoveries stand at 325 295 and active cases are at 4 163.
Zikalala said many people had asked whether KZN had entered the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he said at this stage the answer was an emphatic “no”.
“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,” he said.
“We continue to monitor trends and signals of a resurgence in the province. Our focus is on identifying clusters and conducting targeted testing in the affected areas; identifying and strengthening contact tracing; intensifying our risk communication drive, with an emphasis on non-pharmaceutical interventions.”
He said the province’s strategy to deal with a potential third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic included the following interventions:
- Testing all Covid-19 suspected cases and their contacts
- Isolation of confirmed cases
- Monitoring of those who are self-isolating
- Tracing all contacts of the confirmed cases
- Dedicating beds for quarantine (PUIs), isolation and ICU; and
- Ensuring oxygen availability
- Accelerating vaccinations