Hospital data released by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has provided more insight into the race, gender, sex and underlying health issues of those infected by the coronavirus in South Africa.
DATCOV19, sentinel hospital surveillance for COVID-19 admissions, was initiated on the 1 April 2020. Data are submitted by public and private hospitals that have agreed to report COVID-19 admissions through DATCOV19 surveillance in all nine provinces of South Africa. A COVID-19 case was defined as a person with a positive reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay for SARS-CoV-2 who was admitted to a DATCOV19 sentinel hospital. An individual was defined as having severe disease if treated in high care or ICU, or ventilated or diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Data on hospitalised cases who were diagnosed with COVID-19 from 5 March to 31 May 2020 were collected. Data are received from all private hospitals nationally, and a subset of public hospitals in all nine provinces (data are received from all public hospitals in the Western Cape (WC) Province). As of 31 May 2020, a total of 218 facilities, 57 from public sector and 161 from private sector, submitted data on hospitalised COVID-19 cases.
Race: According to the NCID, of the 2,288 (48.5%) patients out of the 4,718 COVID-19 admissions, whose race was known, 1,458 (63.7%) were black Africans, 436 (19.1%) were coloured, 266 (11.6%) were white and 128 (5.6%) were Indian.
Age: The average age of patients admitted with COVID-19 was 49. The average age of patients who died from COVID-19 complications was 61, and for those who tested positive and were still alive the average age was 47 years.
Sex: Among admitted individuals with COVID-19, 2,563 (54.3%) were female.
Underlying health issues: Among the 2,422 patients with a reported comorbidity, the most commonly reported conditions were hypertension 1,353 (55.9%) and diabetes 1,167 (48.2%). There were 467 (19.3%) patients who were HIV-infected, 97 (4.0%) patients with active tuberculosis and 276 (11.4%) patients with a previous history of TB.
Obesity, while not consistently recorded for all reported COVID-19 admissions, was recorded as a risk factor in 87 patients.
Private vs public hospitals: In the first few weeks of the outbreaks, most deaths were reported in the private sector, but in recent weeks an increasing proportion of reported deaths was in the public sector. Of the 4,718 admitted individuals, there were 2,267 (48%) and 2,451 (52%) admissions reported in the private and public sector, respectively.Detailed NICD COVID-19 update