COVID-19 cases grow as Gauteng enters 4th wave

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outh Africa’s COVID-19 caseload is edging closer to three million after 2 273 new infections were recorded in the past 24 hours.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), this pushes the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 963 679.

Data shows that the increase represents a 10.7% positivity rate, while Gauteng remains the worst-hit province after detecting 1 909 new cases on Monday, November 29.

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According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Ridhwaan Suliman, all provinces are now reporting a peak in additional infections, with Gauteng still the most concerning followed by the Western Cape.

“Case incidence up to 12 new cases per 100 000 in Gauteng and still below two [in the rest of the provinces],” Suliman tweeted, adding that new hospital admissions in Gauteng have been doubling every week.

Citing the Department of Health’s latest statistics, the NICD said 25 more people lost their lives to the respiratory disease, bringing the death toll to 89 822 since the outbreak.

In addition, the number of people receiving hospital treatment has since risen by 79 to 2 328 since the last reporting cycle.

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The latest COVID-19 statistics as at November 29

Gauteng enters fourth wave

Gauteng continues to see continued high levels of COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions, as the fight against the Omicron variant begins.

According to Dr Waasila Jassat of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, hospital admissions have mostly been recorded in Tshwane, in both the private and public sectors.

However, the other districts are also starting to show signs of the peak in those who land in hospital because of COVID-19 since the past week, with the unvaccinated more likely to seek hospital treatment or die.

“There’s a sharp week on week increase. And it’s important to note because as we know that when the hospitals become overwhelmed, there’s less capacity and more mortality.”

According to Jassat, who was speaking during a media briefing with Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, the highest risk of admissions is still in the over 65 age group and has been peaking in all age groups over the last six weeks.

However, the percentage in the middle age group was low, while data shows that it was “very” high in young children.

“Of course, higher proportions of older people are being admitted, because they’re at risk for more severe disease,” she explained.

According to the data, the percentage of admissions with severe disease was higher in the older groups, while it hovers around 25% to 30% for those under 16s.

While there have been fewer deaths reported, she said the most fatalities have been in the older groups – 60 to 69 and over 80.

However, currently, in Tshwane, the proportion of patients presenting severe symptoms was low in the past weeks. 

Meanwhile, the majority of patients admitted in Gauteng were unvaccinated, with a smaller proportion of patients admitted being fully or partially jabbed.

Jassat believes that other Gauteng districts and provinces need to start looking into surge preparedness.

Current vaccination statistics

Meanwhile, the department reported that South Africa has administered 166 074 vaccine doses on Monday, of which 26 866 were given to children aged between 12 and 17.

This means the country has now distributed 25 448 767 vaccine shots.

In addition, 14 384 276 adults have been fully jabbed, while 16 551 605 over 18s have received at least one dose of the vaccine that are currently being administered in the country.  

In addition, the number of teenagers who have since taken the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine now stands at 445 401.

Globally, as of 29 November 2021, there have been 260 867 011 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 5 200 267 deaths, reported to the World Health Organisation. 

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