By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The current surge in COVID-19 infections seems to be showing signs of a sustained downward trend. NICD reports 5,309 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2,854,234. This increase represents a 10.7% positivity rate.
NICD said a further 143 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 84,751 to date with 17,037,271 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.
The majority of new cases today are from KwaZulu-Natal (25%), followed by Western Cape (21%). Eastern Cape accounted for 16%; Free State accounted for 9%; Gauteng Province and Northern Cape each accounted for 8% respectively; Mpumalanga accounted for 6%; North West accounted for 5%; and Limpopo accounted for 2% of today’s new cases.
Meanwhile Gauteng and Limpopo have officially exited the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing a media briefing on Friday, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said Gauteng has gone down to below 5% -- at 4.4% -- positivity rate.
Phaahla said he hopes other provinces will follow suit, as there is no room for complacency.
The Minister said the country is steadily getting out of the grip of the third wave, which is driven by the Delta variant.
"Nationally, there has been a 24% drop in new cases, compared to seven days before. Over this period, the highest case incidence has been in the Northern Cape province, followed by the Free State and then KwaZulu-Natal, in terms of cases per 100 000 population," Phaahla said.
The Minister said that over this period of seven days, hospitalisation has also gone down by 10%, with the Western Cape still the highest per population, followed by Free State and Gauteng.
"In the last 24 hours, South Africa recorded 6 270 new cases, which is consistent with a downward trend of new infections but surprisingly, the highest number of cases were recorded in the Western Cape at 23.6%, KZN 19.5% and the Eastern Cape 17.8%," the Minister said.
The Minister said the positivity rate has come down from the highest level of 35% in mid-July to 12% on Thursday.
"We are encouraged that the positivity rate is steadily going down every day. As of yesterday, Gauteng was down, making it the only province that reached the recommended World Health Organisation (WHO) level, below 5%. It came out at 4.4%," Phaahla said.
Extending his gratitude to health care workers, Phaahla said: "We must again thank our health workers for keeping up the gallant task of saving lives on the front line, not only from COVID-19 but from other diseases as well. Sadly, we continue to lose many more South Africans daily," Phaahla said.