With winter fast approaching and confirmed COVID-19 cases now at 7 220, Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize has urged South Africans to continue to stay home to ease the burden on the country’s healthcare system.

“Stay home if you do not have to venture out,” said the Minister on Monday, May 4.

Seven more fatalities have been recorded, bringing the total number to 138. Of the seven deaths, six were recorded in the Western Cape, while the other was in KwaZulu-Natal.

In a statement issued on Monday, Mkhize said to date, the country has conducted 257 541 tests, with 11 794 of these done in the past 24 hours.

Winter season nearing

“As the winter season sets in, society will be confronted with the additional burden of influenza and other pneumonias, bronchiolitis in children, exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive airways disease and winter related trauma, like burn injuries.

“I therefore urge every South African to continue to play their part in easing the load on the health care system. Stay home if you do not have to venture out, wear a mask at all times in public places, wash your hands regularly and disinfect surfaces you normally come into contact with,” Mkhize said.

As of 2 May, said the Minister, 411 COVID-19 patients were hospitalised.

“This translates to approximately 5% of all COVID-19 confirmed patients and this is consistent with the hospitalisation rates that were seen in China. Our mortality rate has remained stable at around 1.9%, since the first death was reported,” he said.

He said this is below the world average, which is 3.4%, as estimated by the World Health Organisation.

“As a reminder to all South Africans, the principle of flattening the curve is to limit the spread of infection such that the numbers do not rise to the extent that they overwhelm the health care system,” he said.

He also urged employers, whose businesses have opened, to take all the necessary measures to protect their employees. I salute our health professionals – our doctors, nurses, care workers, community workers, allied health professionals, medical technicians, pharmacists, porters, cleaners, laboratory technicians and all our foot soldiers in the front line of health care, who continue to serve under these trying times.

Cases per province

Eastern Cape – 814

Free State – 125

Gauteng – 1661

KwaZulu-Natal – 1 106

Limpopo – 39

Mpumalanga – 53

North West – 35

Northern Cape – 25

Western Cape – 3 362

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