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NICD: COVID cases on the rise but ‘hard to say’ whether a full-blown resurgence

COVID-19 infections are on the rise, as are hospital admissions and deaths from the virus, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service.

It has reported an increase in the 7-day moving average for new cases and for people testing positive in Gauteng, particularly in Tshwane, this past week. Additionally, it has identified a cluster among the 20-44 age group at a Tshwane institute of higher education. “We are monitoring these trends to see if these increases persist,” said NICD Acting Executive Director Prof Adrian Puren.

“Localised increases in case numbers (clusters) are not unexpected, but it is hard to say whether the increases indicate the start of a widespread resurgence.”

Previous waves have been driven, to a large extent, by the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants: Beta in the second wave and Delta in the third wave. “Genomic sequencing in South Africa has, to date, not yet detected the emergence of any new variants making up an increasing proportion of the sequences,” Puren added. There are some delays inherent in molecular sequencing, due to transport of samples and the time taken to process them.

To date, 41% of South African adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 35% fully vaccinated.

“It is difficult to predict the magnitude and timing of a potential COVID-19 resurgence, however, we implore the unvaccinated to get the vaccine, especially the elderly and those with comorbidities,” said head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response Dr Michelle Groome.

On Tuesday this week (22 November), 312 new COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in the country, bringing the total number of cases to 2,930,174, representing a 2.3% positivity rate. A further 10 COVID-19-related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89,584 to date.

A total of 19,126,699 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.

Breakdown by provinces:

 

The majority of new cases are from Gauteng (77%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape each accounting for 5% respectively. Limpopo and Mpumalanga each accounted for 3% respectively; and Eastern Cape, Free State, North West and Northern Cape for 2% respectively. There have been 37 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.

 

PoliticsWeb article – Covid cases back on an upward trajectory – NICD (Open access)

 

NICD article– Sustained increase in Covid-19 cases (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

SAMRC/UCT analysis: Pandemic deaths in South Africa approach 300,000

 

Discovery analysis: Pfizer vaccinated SA adults have 94% lower risk of death from COVID

 

26-member SA universities body backs mandatory vaccinations

 

The challenges to collecting accurate COVID-death statistics in SA

 

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