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Health Department warning as demand rises for oxygen, more people admitted to hospitals

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The director-general in the Health Department, Sandile Buthelezi, told the joint committees on health on Friday the next few weeks would be difficult due to the rising Covid-19 numbers.

File picture: AfricanNews Agency (ANA)

The Department of Health has warned that Covid-19 cases were increasing, with a rising demand for oxygen in hospitals and more people admitted in healthcare facilities.

The director-general in the department, Sandile Buthelezi, told the joint committees on health on Friday that the numbers were rising.

He said while they were sitting with 20 000 active cases three weeks ago, this number had doubled to 42 000. Buthelezi said there were a number of incidents that have led to an increase in these cases.

Buthelezi also said the positivity rate had reached 10%.

This was the same warning issued by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize in the National Council of Provinces this week.

Buthelezi said the next few weeks would be difficult.

“What we have seen is that for three consecutive weeks, we have seen increasing numbers in all provinces. Currently, three weeks ago, we were sitting just above 20 000 active cases, but now we can see we have doubled that number, with 12% hospitalisation,” said Buthelezi.

“But of more concern is the positivity rate, which has now surpassed the 10% mark for the country. When we were on a plateau, we were sitting just above 3%,” he said.

He said all provinces were seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Buthelezi also said they would in the next few weeks try to increase the number of people who are vaccinated.

This comes amid calls from opposition parties that the pace has been slow. But Buthelezi said once the Johnson & Johnson doses are received, they will have more sites to conduct vaccines.

Political Bureau