5062 new cases recorded with an increase of 83 hospital admissions in 24 hours.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 5,062 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,769,927.
The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (46%), followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal (29%). Western Cape accounted for 11%; Free State and Eastern Cape each accounted for 4% respectively; Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 2% respectively; and Northern Cape accounted for 1% of today’s new cases.
This increase represents an 18.4% positivity rate.
The proportion of positive new cases/total new tested today is (18.4%), and is lower than yesterday (19.3%). The 7-day average is (16.9%) today, and is higher than yesterday (15.7%).
There has been an increase of 83 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.
Due to the ongoing audit exercise by the National Department of Health (NDoH), there may be a backlog of COVID-19 mortality cases reported. Today, the NDoH reports 15 deaths and of these, 6 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 100,348 to date.
Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University Shabir Madhi said that concerns around the rising cases need to be tempered, with resurgences predicted every four to five months between waves.
"We need to be careful about interpreting the data – especially with the positivity rate. In South Africa, we have become much more selective about who is being tested," he told news channel eNCA.
"People who are more likely to have Covid are the ones forward for testing, and the overall testing rate has decreased, so it is difficult to make head-to-head comparisons between what we are getting now and previous waves."
Madhi added that this particular resurgence is 'nothing to worry' about as it appears to be driven by the BA.4 variant, which is the sublineage of the Omicron variant. He added that a high percentage of South Africans would have some level of immunity (as much as 85%) due to infection of vaccination.
Madhi said that a resurgence is typically classified when the positivity rate is above 10% for more than two consecutive weeks. He said this would vary by province, with Gauteng again appearing to lead in new cases.
The professor added that the focus in South Africa should not be on positivity rates but rather on hospitalisations that are 'extremely modest still'. Mahdi added that South Africans still need to be cautious, especially those in older age groups and with underlying health conditions, and should come forward for their vaccine or necessary booster shot.
Health minister Joe Phaahla said his department is tracking the 'worrying' increase in Covid-19 cases in recent days and will present its findings to the public once it has more information. Forecasts provided by the Department of Health and insurer Discovery have indicated that the fifth wave of Covid cases is most likely to occur from the end of April.
Phaahla said that the situation is actively being monitored, adding that more time is needed to determine the exact trend in infections.