PRETORIA, South Africa – Less than 1 000 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the country on Monday, said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
’’As of today, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 650 749, with 956 new cases identified,“ Mkhize said in a statement.
’Regrettably, we report 52 more Covid-19-related deaths: 2 from KwaZulu-Natal, 3 from Gauteng, 4 from Eastern Cape, 7 from the Western Cape, 15 from North West and 21 from the Free State.
’’This brings the total number of Covid-19-related deaths to 15 499. Our recoveries now stand at 579 289, which translates to a recovery rate of 88.9%.’’
Status of the Covid-19 pandemic – trends
’’The number of detected cases countrywide continues to decline. Since the 22nd of August we have reported under 3 000 cases a day – at the height of the epidemic during the month of July we would report anything between 10 000 and 15 000 cases a day.
’’Supporting this decline is also a demonstrable decline in persons under investigation, general ward admissions, ICU admissions, deaths and excess deaths.
’’Consistency across these indicators reassures us that indeed we are in the midst of a trough in the pandemic.’’
National Institute of Communicable Diseases analysis – case management
’’The NICD Covid Surveillance in Selected Hospitals Report of 11 September 2020 outlines analyses of data collected from 459 public and private facilities across the country.
’’This report shows a clear shift in the behaviour of the epidemic, with downward trends in general ward and ICU admissions and deaths. In total, 66 515 patients were studied, with 4 314 currently admitted.
’’The discharge rate from hospital was 75%, while the in-hospital case fatality ratio was 17.5%. The median age for admissions was between 50 and 59 and the median age for deaths was between 60 and 69.
’’At the height of the epidemic, these sample hospitals were reporting between 6400 and 6 800 admissions per week.“
World Health Organisation analysis
’’South Africa has benefited significantly from the contributions of the World Health Organisation surge team that has come to reinforce our team in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.
’’The WHO surge team has released a situational report on 10 September 2020 reflective of the 37th week of our epidemic, which confirms the decline as reported by NICD.
’’This report showed a 42% decline of detected cases in the preceding two weeks and a 28,9% decline in deaths in the same period.
Admission to critical care wards increased by 13.9 percent during this epidemic week but conversely admissions into general wards decreased by 43% in the same period. The median test positivity rate was recorded at 9.8% compared to 11.4% in the previous week.“
Bed occupancy and oxygen demand
’’Bed occupancy and oxygen demand is also declining. The percentage of beds currently occupied by Covid-19 patients nationally is under 10% for non-ICU beds and under 30% for ICU beds.
’’The benefit that we have seen during this period is that there has been an increased acquisition of ventilators, with 5 444 procured or received through donations and 2 848 currently awaiting delivery.
’’This has assisted us to improve our facilities as ventilators were in shorty supply and there would have been a delay in providing the required health care to patients who needed it the most.
’’It also drove us in the direction of increasing local manufacturing capacity, which resulted in South Africa manufacturing ventilators for the first time in history. 20 000 ventilators are expected to be produced through the National Ventilator Project.
’’We also have reports from Afrox indicating that oxygen demand has decreased nationally in the past few weeks.’’
Restrictions under review
’’In previous statements relating to restrictions under the National State of Disaster, we committed to reviewing these periodically as we reassess the state of the South African epidemic and this is indeed what we have done.
’’Having observed evidence that suggests a sustained decline in coronavirus transmission, as the Department of Health we have considered easing restrictions in various aspects – such as the curfew, sale of alcohol, religious gatherings, and travel restrictions – for the National Coronavirus Command Council, which will make final recommendations to cabinet.
’’Whatever decisions are made, it is important to emphasise that the risk of spreading and contracting Covid-19 still remains and that non-pharmaceutical interventions remain important as we learn to co-exist with the coronavirus.’’
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to chair the National Economic Development and Labour Council meeting on Tuesday.
He will also chair the President’s Coordinating Council meeting, which includes ministers, premiers and leadership of the SA Local Government Association.
“The meeting is expected to deliberate on a report from the National Coronavirus Command Council on the country’s response to the pandemic,” the Presidency said on Monday.
After months in isolation, we’re all ready to see family & friends. But the last thing we want is to put anyone in harm’s way. Infectious disease specialist Prof Shaheen Mehtaroffers some advice on how to lessen the risk of these interactions. pic.twitter.com/iwOPG19YHk
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) September 14, 2020