Spike in COVID-19 infections with positivity rate hits three-month high.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 4,406 new COVID-19 cases in South Africa, bringing the overall number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,750, 830.
The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (49%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (22%). Western Cape accounted for 15% and Eastern Cape accounted for 5%. Free State, Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 2% respectively; Limpopo and Northern Cape each accounted for 1% of today’s new cases respectively.
This rise reflects a 15.8% increase in positivity rate.
The proportion of positive new cases/total new tested today is (15.8%), and is higher than yesterday (13.4%). The 7-day average is (10.4%) today, and is higher than yesterday (9.2%).
"The public should exercise caution in interpreting these data as there may be changes in test patterns. An early warning indicator, wastewater detection surveillance, shows an increase in Gauteng", comments NICD Executive Director, Prof Adrian Puren.
He adds that there is currently no evidence that the Omicron variant of concern is being displaced as the dominant circulating variant.
There may be a backlog of COVID-19 mortality cases reported due to the current audit effort by the National Department of Health (NDoH). Today, the NDoH reports 65 fatalities, with 5 occurring during the last 24 – 48 hours. This puts the overall number of fatalities to 100,276.
South Africa's coronavirus test positivity rate climbed to the highest in more than three months, indicating that the number of undetected infections may be rising.
With many cases of the virus going undiagnosed, the positivity rate is seen as an indication of how fast the disease is spreading. Countries from South Africa to India are reporting rising infections, while experts are cautioning against dropping the mandate for people to wear masks on US airplanes as the virus lingers.
South Africa, along with neighboring Botswana, identified the highly infectious omicron variant in November. It was the first country to suffer a surge of infections because of the new variant, with daily records occurring in December.
While scientists have predicted the start of the next wave in late April or May, the government has said that vaccine coverage and the high rate of prior infections – as many as 80% of South Africans may already have had Covid-19 – should ease its impact.
South Africa has administered at least 34,366,442 doses of COVID vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 29.3% of the country’s population.
During the last week reported, South Africa averaged about 36,267 doses administered each day. At that rate, it will take a further 323 days to administer enough doses for another 10% of the population.