Wednesday, 29 December 2021 21:00

Covid-19 Daily Update: SA records 9 020 new cases with 81 related deaths.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 9 020 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 433 554. 

This increase represents a 26% positivity rate. 

The majority of new cases today are from KwaZulu-Natal (28%), followed by Western Cape (21%).  Gauteng accounted for 21%; Eastern Cape accounted for 15%; Free State accounted for 5%; Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and North West each accounted for 3% respectively; and Northern Cape each accounted for 2% of today’s new cases.

The proportion of positive new cases/total new tested today is 26.0% which is higher than yesterday (23.6%). The 7-day average is 26.1% today, which is lower than yesterday (26.8%). The 7-day moving average daily number of cases has decreased.

NICD said a further 81 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 90 935 to date.

The Western Cape has recorded a "slowing down" of cases, but is yet to reach the peak of the fourth wave.

During a weekly digicon on Wednesday, Western Cape health department head Dr Keith Cloete said there had been a plateauing of cases over the last week, but he cautioned that testing and reporting of cases might have been affected by the public holidays.

He added that cases in the province over the last week were still higher than was initially predicted by the South African Modelling Consortium.

"Actual case numbers are generally higher than the prediction of the past week. We are expecting fewer cases in the coming week, but there is uncertainty as public holidays and restricted testing are affecting testing patterns," said Cloete.

The fourth wave had more daily infections than any other wave, said Cloete.

In the last week, the province recorded an average of 3 949 new daily infections – higher than the third wave, in which 3 567 new daily infections were recorded at the peak.

However, few hospital admissions and deaths had been recorded for the current wave, compared to previous waves.

In the last week, the province saw an average of 217 new daily admissions. This number stood at 362 at the peak of the third wave, 478 in the second, and 211 in the first.

According to Cloete, the risk of admission is around 30% lower early on in the fourth wave than early on in the third wave. The risk of severe illness requiring hospital admission is 60% lower.

This could be because immunity from prior infection and vaccination had reduced the chances of developing severe illness, and it also appeared that Omicron caused less severe illness, he said.

However, Cloete warned, the new variant could still cause severe illness in those who had not been vaccinated and did not have natural immunity.

The province saw, on average, two deaths daily in the last week, compared to 122 at the peak of the third wave, 149 in the second, and 51 in the first wave.