SA records 6,527 new COVID-19 cases with a 21.5% positivity rate.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), reports 6,527 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,791,925.
This increase represents an 21.5% positivity rate.
Today, the NDoH reports 3 deaths, and of these 1 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 100,363 to date.
The National Department of Health (NDoH) has noted with "concern" the current spike in Covid-19 infections in some parts of the country amid fears that SA may be entering a fifth wave.
People are being urged to take extra measures to protect themselves.
The department said two sub-variants of the Omicron strain are currently in circulation but there’s no talk of any lockdown or any further Covid-19 restrictions.
There are fears that SA may be entering the fifth Covid-19 wave earlier than expected after a sustained rise in infections over the past 14 days that seems to be driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla said although hospitalisations were picking up there was so far no dramatic change in admissions to intensive care units or deaths.
He said at this stage health authorities had not been alerted to any new variant, other than changes to the dominant one circulating, Omicron.
NDoH spokesperson Foster Mohale said Covid-19 remains a life threatening disease and vaccination remains the most effective weapon for protection.
"There is no need for the public to panic at the moment, but people should continue adhering to preventative measures and vaccinate. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) and other health experts are closely monitoring the situation in order to establish the patterns of disease progression. Although it is too early to tell what drives the current spike of infections, all unvaccinated and partly vaccinated people are urged to protect themselves through vaccination," he said.
Mohale stressed that the lifting of the State of Disaster does not mean Covid-19 is over. Epidemiologists predict the fifth wave to hit around the winter season, which is also associated with flu.
Head of The South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University Professor Hannelie Meyer said while there has been an increase in Covid-19 cases, it’s too early to tell if the fifth wave is upon us.
"The scientists are keeping a very close eye on the data, and we will have to wait another week before we will have more certainty about whether it is just a resurgence in cases or whether it could be the start of the fifth wave, "she said.
Meyer also cautioned that there is no need for panic.
"While we have no certainty about anything, all we need to do is not to let our guard down, which means to make sure you are vaccinated, wear a mask when indoors in public areas, make sure there is enough ventilation, and keep social distancing. This is especially important for people over 60, those with underlying conditions and those who are immunocompromised," she concluded.