CORONAVIRUS WEEKLY DIGEST #34
Third wave of Covid-19 infections nips at the heels of the vaccine roll-out in four provinces
This week, the third wave was well established in four provinces. Meanwhile, vaccination numbers rose to more than a million – although less than half have been vaccinated fully.
A third wave of Covid-19 infections gathers momentum
By 2 June, South Africa’s positivity rate had risen to 12.7% from 11.9% just three days before. This rate refers to the percentage of tests that had a positive result for Covid-19 on that day.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed that Gauteng, the Northern Cape, North West and the Free State had entered the third wave.
It explained that hospital admissions are increasing in these provinces and that the seven-day moving average of cases has surpassed 30% of the second-wave peak.
It also noted an increase in cases in specific areas of other provinces.
There were 14,756 new cases of Covid-19 recorded between 31 May and 3 June and 259 died of Covid-19 during that week. The number of active cases rose from 49,774 on 31 May to 55,973 on 3 June – an increase of 6,199.
More than one million vaccinated – but less than half are fully vaccinated
By Wednesday, 2 June, South Africa had administered 1,045,104 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in four months.
However, only 479,768 people had been fully vaccinated after receiving the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine through the Sisonke study.
The remaining 565,336 are yet to receive their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
By the end of 3 June, 637,801 people had received their first Pfizer dose.
Gauteng ‘in the middle of the third wave’
The closure of Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital and the water shortages at Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa hospitals are exacerbating the pressure of the third wave, said Premier David Makhura on Friday.
The province currently has the most active Covid-19 cases and is “in the middle of the third wave”, according to Makhura. These facilities need to be fixed in June because July and August “will be too late”, he says. He intends to declare a local state of disaster to force the reopening of the hospitals. Read the report by Greg Nicolson here.
Eastern Cape sounds the alarm on increasing cases
The week began with a plea from Eastern Cape health officials for residents to cooperate with contact tracing teams. These teams screen and test the contacts of Covid-19 patients. Residents have been refusing to be screened or tested and protesting against providing their details.
By the end of the week two districts had been advised to go into “response phases” and proactively test people for Covid-19. The Nelson Mandela Bay and Sarah Baartman districts have seen a surge in active cases.
There has been a decline in the number of healthcare workers admitted to hospital with Covid-19. Read the report by Estelle Ellis here. DM/MC
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