The number of Covid-19 cases in KwaZulu-Natal has declined indicating that the second wave of the pandemic is subsiding.

However, citizens should guard against the threat of a third wave of infections as the country heads into the winter months Premier Sihle-Zikalala told journalists at a media briefing on Sunday.

Zikalala said the province continued to rank the second-highest in terms of the number of laboratory-confirmed cases countrywide, contributing 326 703 or 22% of the total number of 1 503 796 cases  reported countrywide. eThekwini t recorded 33% of these cases, followed by Umgungundlovu at 17% and uThukela at 12%.  So far 9 464 people have died with the virus in the province.

Covid-19 cases decline

“We have continued to observe a remarkable decline in the number of new cases weekly. The overall percentage change in the number of new cases between week 5 and 6 was a decline of 45%. The actual number of cases was 6 898 for week 5 and 3 801 for week 6 respectively. The decline in the number of new cases occurred across the province,” Zikalala said.

The average number of cases recorded in the past seven days remained below 500 cases per day, with a 7-day moving average of 327 cases.

The province also observed a further decline in incidence risk in districts across the province, from 61 to 34 cases per 100 000, in the past 14 days. The overall proportion of recoveries for the province is 93% or 302 801 patients. The proportion of recoveries in all districts is above 80%.  

He said a total of 15 829 health care workers (HCWs) had been infected with COVID-19 in the public sector since the beginning of the pandemic. The majority of infected HCWs were nurses, at 55%. Of the total infected, 335 or 2% have  died.

“As at 19 February 2021, the province had 1 523 patients admitted in both private and public (n=368, 24%) hospitals. Of those admitted, 278 patients (18%) required intensive care services. Private hospitals had more patients in ICU (91%) than public facilities (9%),” he said.

“All of these are welcome developments, and an indication that the second wave is finally subsiding. Finally, we can breathe a sigh of relief, given how bad things have been over the past few weeks and months, especially the many precious lives we’ve lost, as well as the impact of COVID – 19 on the economy,” Zikalala said.

Third wave looms as winter approaches

However, he warned that the waning of the decline of Covid-19 cases and the waning of the second wave did not mean that it was time to celebrate, as the third wave remained a threat.

“The reduction in these statistics does not mean that we must now rest on our laurels. Now is not the time to celebrate, or drop our guard and be complacent.  COVID – 19 is still deadly, and there is the ever-looming threat of the third wave of infections that we need to guard against especially as we approach the winter months,” he said.

“We remain concerned that our province continues to rank the third-highest in terms of fatalities countrywide, following Eastern Cape and Western Cape Provinces.  Our call for healthcare workers to come forward and get vaccinated is an important one, given the rising COVID – 19 stats in so far as these important foot soldiers are concerned,” he said.

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Presh JM Reporter

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