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Concern over surge in Covid cases in NC

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Health minister says “the number of daily cases are increasing alarmingly, particularly in the Sol Plaatje and Nama Khoi local municipal areas”

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. File picture

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Health has expressed concern over the rapid increase in Covid-19 infections in the Province.

An additional 260 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the Northern Cape as of April 21, bringing the total number of infections in the Province to 38,442 cases.

The Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, noted that the last time that more than 200 cases were reported in the Province was on January 28 during the second wave.

“Clearly this shows the number of daily cases are increasing alarmingly, particularly in the Sol Plaatje and Nama Khoi local municipal areas,” said Mkhize.

The Frances Baard District reported the highest number of cases (135), followed by Pixley ka Seme (49), Namakwa (38), ZF Mgcawu (22) and John Taolo Gaetsewe (16).

There were nine new Covid-19-related deaths in the Province.

Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lebogang Majaha on Thursday attributed the 96 percent increase in the number of infections to gatherings that took place over the Easter weekend.

“People lowered their guard … This resulted in 903 new cases last week compared to 462 in the previous week,” said Majaha.

He stated that the Department of Education and the Department of Health had convened an urgent meeting this week to respond to the surge in Covid-19 transmissions.

“Collectively, we are concerned about the resurgence of Covid-19 infections in the Province and the impact its having on schools.

“Currently, seven schools – six in the Namakwa District and one in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District – are closed due to Covid-19 infections.”

Majaha indicated that mass testing and contact tracing was under way at the affected schools.

“The incidence management teams are doing their utmost best and availed all the necessary resources to contain the spread of the virus.

Majaha added that Covid-19 testing had increased by 55 percent compared to the previous week to improve the detection of new cases and isolate those identified as positive.

“We have noted the report by the National Institute for Communicable Disease relating to the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the Province. We have cautioned members of the public about the potential for increased exposure to Covid-19 due to non-adherence of non-pharmaceutical measures.”

He encouraged the public to remain vigilant during the school holidays.

“School holidays have the potential to increase the number of infections further as learners, educators and parents go on holiday, inside or outside the Province.

“We remind all citizens that the country is still in a national state of disaster. It is required by all citizens to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations and guidelines. Our actions will determine the rate of spread of this virus and it is vitally important that we act responsibly at all times.”

Majaha said that the departments of Health and Education would meet regularly to manage the spread of this virus in the school environment.

“District managers from both departments will meet on a weekly basis to discuss emerging matters and how to respond. At a provincial level we will meet jointly on a bi-weekly basis to monitor and assess progress.”

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