COVID-19 Resurgence fears: KZN Health MEC sounds alarm bells as province records more than 1700 new COVID-19 cases in one day

01 May 2022

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane has sounded alarm bells, following the soaring number of new COVID-19 cases, which have peaked at 1742 over the latest 24-hour reporting period (30 April 2022).

The eThekwini Municipality accounts for at least 80% of the new cases, followed by Umgungundlovu District at 7%, and Ilembe at 5%.

After a steady climb over the past week, it is the first time in months that the number of new infections threatens to reach the 2000 mark, and the latest figures have pushed the seven-day average from 414 to 1171.

MEC Simelane is also concerned at the rising number of patients hospitalised for COVID-19.

Of the 437 people currently admitted in public and private hospitals for COVID-19, 47 are in ICU and 9 on ventilators. A week ago, the Province had 342 people hospitalised COVID-19 patients, including 44 in ICU and 11 on oxygen.

MEC Simelane explains: "In terms of our emergency early warning systems, a 10% increase in cases over a 7 day moving average will trigger an alert; while a 20% increase in cases over a 7 day moving average, which is what we’ve seen, may trigger resurgence.

"So, indeed, these latest statistics are of huge concern to us. Clearly, something is happening. At this stage, we're not sure whether this is the Fifth wave or not, but these developments are cause for concern. That is why we are urging all the people of this province to stay alert, and to practice all the necessary precautions, such as wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, and washing their hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitiser."

No fewer than 16 079 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19 in KwaZulu-Natal, and MEC Simelane has again reiterated the need for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, so as to strengthen their bodies and also protect those around them in case of infection.

The Province has so far fully vaccinated 2,756 million people, with a total of 4,463 million yet to get even a single jab.

MEC Simelane said: "We are pleading with those who have not been vaccinated to come forward and get the jab. This is for their own good, because people who are not vaccinated are more likely to be infected with COVID-19, and more likely to transmit COVID-19 to others. They are also at a much higher risk of dying from the infection compared to vaccinated people.

"Also, when infected, they can be more infectious and get sick for a longer periods of time.

"We therefore wish to urge them to consider the potential risks that they are putting themselves and their loved ones in - especially our elderly, and those with hypertension, diabetes and other chronic medical conditions - and get vaccinated.

"Individuals who have these underlying ailments remain at higher risk even after vaccinating when exposed and infected with COVID-19. They are more at risk of severe infection, which may require hospitalization, or result in death due to the infection."

MEC Simelane also took the opportunity to once again dispel some of the misconceptions and myths about the safety of vaccines, which are believed to be making many people hesitant to take the jab.

"We wish to assure all the people of this country that COVID-19 vaccines have undergone rigorous scientific testing which has shown that they are, indeed, safe for use.

"They have undergone unprecedented scientific collaborations, which have allowed research, development, and authorizations to be completed in record time - to meet the urgent need for these vaccines while maintaining high safety standards.

"We therefore urge anyone who experiences side effects after vaccination that is outside of what is expected - that is, pain at the injection site, fever, muscle aches - to please report by calling our toll free line on 0800 029 999 or log into the SAHPRA med safety App."

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This page last edited on 03 May, 2022

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