By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 14 701 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 283 880. This increase represents a 29.1% positivity rate.
The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (43%), followed by Western Cape (16%). Limpopo accounted for 10%; North West accounted for 8%; KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga each accounted for 7%; Eastern Cape accounted for 5%; Free State accounted for 3%; and Northern Cape accounted for 1% of today’s new cases.
There has been an increase of 546 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.
NICD said a further 291 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 66 676 to date.
For updates on the national vaccine programme, click here.
Meanwhile Early childhood development (ECD) teachers, Sassa officials and other social development department staff will receive vaccines from Monday.
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the social development sector will be launching its national vaccine rollout plan from Monday in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West and Northern Cape.
The vaccination rollout in the Western Cape will start on Thursday and in Limpopo on Friday.
Just over 240 000 people are expected to receive their jabs during the rollout.
"Over the past few days, the Departments of Social Development and Health have been working hard to ensure that the social development sector is prioritised for the vaccination rollout during the current phase, given the work that we do, as a sector, through our daily interaction with the public in fulfilling our mandate of serving the most vulnerable in society," said Zulu.
"In total, we anticipate that this vaccine rollout programme will target just over 240 000 workforce throughout the sector, and this will enable business continuity of our social services currently in high demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic."
Included in the rollout plan are ECD practitioners and staff working in the ECD environment.
"Given that ECDs remain open while schools are closed and practitioners are equally at risk of contracting the virus, we want to highlight that this includes all ECDs, both registered and unregistered with the government, including centre and non-centre-based programmes," said Zulu.
Also eligible for the vaccine are social service professionals, including all social workers, auxiliary social workers and student social workers, who are currently doing fieldwork, child and youth care workers, child and youth care auxiliary workers and all social service professionals in the public, private or NGO sectors.
It also includes community development practitioners and frontline staff working in the social development department, including at all social development facilities, Sassa, the National Development Agency, and the South African Council for Social Service Professions.
"It is important to highlight that only those who are registered on the Department of Health's Electronic Vaccination Data System will be eligible for vaccination, as there is no paper-based registration process at vaccination sites," said Zulu.
Details of all vaccination sites, provincial and district coordinators, including the ECD forum coordinators, will be published on the department's website.