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12% decrease in Covid cases in NC

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Dept says figures indicate that the Northern Cape has “passed the peak of the third wave”.

AS THE Northern Cape experiences a reduction in Covid-19 infections, the MEC for Health, Maruping Lekwene, will this week visit the provincial districts to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

The provincial Health Department said the Northern Cape is the only province in the country which has seen a decrease in the number of coronavirus infections.

Department spokesperson Lebogang Majaha said the Province had a decrease of 12% in Covid-19 infections this past week.

“In the past week, the number of new cases reduced by 12% compared to the previous week. Infections decreased from 2,019 to 1,629 new infections the past week. The number of people remaining infected with Covid-19 dropped from 8,200 two weeks ago to 6,600 last week. Last week the Province showed a significant drop in hospital admissions of 16%. These indicators are all consistent with us having passed the peak of the third wave,” said Majaha.

He added that although the Province had passed the peak of the third wave, practising and adhering to the Covid-19 protocols remained important.

“The Northern Cape entered the third wave of this pandemic before all other provinces in South Africa. This also meant that the incidence of the new Delta variant of Covid-19 appears to be lower than in other provinces. The problem with the Delta variant is not that people get sicker than with other variants – the evidence is that the level of sickness of individuals is the same – the problem is that it appears to be twice as infective as the other variants, so more people can get infected at the same time. It is for this reason that we are stressing, more than previously, the need to conduct non-pharmaceutical interventions, including face masking, social distancing, hand hygiene and avoiding large gatherings.”

Majaha also stressed the importance of residents being vaccinated.

“So far, we have vaccinated 51,180 people in the Northern Cape against Covid-19. This comprises of 9,640 health-care workers, 7,563 people working in basic education and 33,977 members of the general public aged 60 years or greater.

“Vaccination of the South African Police Service (SAPS) is starting this week. This will be followed by members of the defence force. We will be announcing further vaccination roll-outs of essential services in the coming weeks.

“In an effort to accelerate the vaccination programme to the most vulnerable members of society, uninsured and insured people 50 years and over will be allocated to the most appropriate vaccination site, whether it is a private or public site. Providing you are registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS), residents will not be charged personally for the Covid-19 vaccine. All costs will be met by the government or the medical aid schemes, as agreed between the two parties.”

Majaha said the department will also increase the number of vaccination sites in order to make it more accessible for residents.

“This week we have increased the number of vaccination sites to 30, from just 15 sites two weeks ago.”

He assured residents that the vaccine had been medically proven to be safe and effective.

“Covid-19 vaccines used in South Africa have been developed using science that has been around for decades. They went through all the required stages of clinical trials, with extensive testing and monitoring, which has shown that these vaccines are safe and effective. The vaccines continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring, with all adverse events being followed up by scientists.

“Covid-19-vaccines are effective. They can keep you from getting infected in the first instance, or they can help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do contract Covid-19.

“Getting vaccinated yourself will also help protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19,” Majaha concluded.