Home News Northern Cape in Covid fourth wave – Premier Saul

Northern Cape in Covid fourth wave – Premier Saul

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Premier Zamani Saul said there was a 304 percent increase in average daily Covid-19 cases in the Province.

Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul. Picture: Danie van der Lith

NORTHERN Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul said an increase in Covid-19 infections was expected over the festive season, with more social gatherings and travelling between districts and provinces anticipated during the year-end holidays.

During his address on provincial government’s Covid-19 response on Monday, Saul stated that all districts in the Northern Cape, with the exception of Namakwa, were experiencing an increase in infections.

He noted that there was an average of 411 cases per day in the past week compared to the 135 average daily cases in the preceding seven days.

“This represents an increase of 304 percent. Two weeks ago our average daily cases were 55 new cases per day.”

Saul said that there were 98,137 confirmed cases in the Province as of December 19.

“The Province experienced a prolonged third wave that lasted for 24 weeks, resulting in an additional 54,000 new cases during this period. The impact of the disease was felt in all our communities, where 1,361 more Covid-19-related deaths were recorded. This is significantly higher than the first and second wave.”

He added that at the end of the third wave the Northern Cape recorded the lowest number of infections, with an average of 39 new infections compared to 321 during the peak of the second wave.

“The Province had been in the post-wave period for nine weeks before experiencing a resurgence. The Northern Cape’s average positivity rate stands at 44.4 percent, which means that every second person tested is positive.

“As a Province we are in the fourth wave, where we are experiencing an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the exception of the Namakwa District.”

Saul stated that 532,482 Covid-19 tests had been conducted at a cost of R271.5 million.

“Currently, the recovery rate for the Province stands at 93 percent and we have in excess of 5,000 active cases. This is compared to previously having an average of 1,000 active cases and about 10,000 cases during the third wave.”

He added that the Province had 3,038 hospital beds available to treat Covid-19 patients at both private and public health facilities.

“To date, only 11 percent of these beds were occupied. However, with a projected slight increase in the number of cases, it is anticipated that a marginal increase in bed occupancy is possible, though the impact of vaccinations has resulted in low admission rates.”

Saul stated that fewer people over the age of 70 were being admitted to hospital compared to during the first and second waves.

“Among the currently admitted patients, 43.8 percent are between the ages of 20-49 years old. The length of stay at our facilities has also been shortened, with patients staying an average of five days. We have 46 intensive care unit (ICU) beds immediately available in the Province and this can be increased to 120 beds at any given time.”

Saul said the number of new hospital admissions remained relatively low compared to during the previous three waves.

“There is, however, a steady increase in admissions for persons between the ages of 40-59 years. Furthermore, total admissions since the start of the pandemic surpassed the 10,000 mark with 48 newly admitted patients during the past week. Most of these patients were admitted in the Frances Baard District – 62.5 percent.

“There were two deaths recorded on December 18, bringing the cumulative total to 2,440. Our hospitals have not reported any alarming increase or related pressures and, more importantly, there are fewer patients who need to be ventilated or oxygenated ”

He added that additional oxygen tanks and cylinders with high-flow oxygen capacity had been supplied to all hospitals.

“The department established a provincial health team to ensure that all infrastructure, supply and equipment matches the demand for oxygen.

“As part of our first phase of the provincial oxygen project, 20 of our facilities have been completed, with 14 of the 20 facilities having been completed during the second phase. The cost of the project exceeds R50 million.”

Saul indicated that 308 community service and internships would start on January 1, 2022 at a cost of R207.3 million.

“The Department of Health is currently piloting innovative interventions to improve the management, support and monitoring of our ICU patients through a partnership with the University of Fort Hare. Through the E-ICU programme, specialist clinicians offer remote support and guidance to local clinicians remotely,” he added.

Saul said that 575,740 people in the Province had been vaccinated, including children older than 12, by December 19.

He also noted that they had managed to vaccinate 59 percent of the targeted population with at least one dose.

He said that the Province’s vaccination target was 70 percent

“There are 9,456 health-care workers eligible to be vaccinated under the Sisonke II programme and 4,236 have been vaccinated for the booster jab to date. We are now offering Pfizer booster doses to children aged 12-17 years.”

Saul stated that 130 vaccine fridges, 444 vaccine cold boxes, 280 temperature monitoring devices, 67 laptops and 92 tablets would be distributed to vaccine sites across the Province in early January 2022.

“We are running 133 vaccination points across the Province in an effort to increase access to the vaccine for our communities.”

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