DURBAN – KWAZULU-NATAL appeared to be over the worst of its Covid-19 third wave peak, said Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane.
The MEC said on Sunday it looked like KZN had passed its third wave peak, and that new Covid-19 daily infection rates were going down.
“Although we are going down, our numbers are not consistent, they are fluctuating,” Simelane said.
She added that since two Fridays ago, new infections had been below 2 000, but even though they were below that number, the province was at 1 100, 1 400 and sometimes went down to 600 and 800, which showed that the virus was still around and that people still needed to be vigilant.
From last Monday to Saturday, cases were 601, 932, 1 058, 806, 744 and 834 respectively.
“We’re going down, but we’re limping.”
Recent statistics by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) revealed that KZN had dominated new cases since it entered the third wave in August, and that the majority of new cases came from the province.
For more than a week and a half, there had been a shift in provinces that dominated new cases, and KZN was no longer at the forefront:
September 18: KZN (25%), then Eastern Cape (16%)
September 17: Western Cape (21%), then KZN (20%)
September 16: WC (21%), then EC (20%) and KZN (19%)
September 15: WC (25%), then KZN (23%)
September 13: EC (33%), then KZN (23%)
September 9: WC (24%), then KZN (20%)
Regarding vaccinations, Simelane said they were still worried. In early September, 2.3 million people had been vaccinated in the province, and last week KZN had reached 2.5 million.
“We’re not happy with these numbers because although they are increasing, they are increasing slowly.”
She said they had a target of vaccinating 7 million people by March next year because the province had a population of 11 million.
According to Simelane, at the start of the vaccination drive they thought that they would reach their 7 million target because people were excited about getting vaccinated, but over the past few weeks that excitement had diminished because there was a lot of anti-vaccination chatter that was making people reluctant to get vaccinated.
Simelane added that they had implemented programmes to boost vaccinations, and part of this was to limit travel time and expenses for those willing to be vaccinated by bringing vaccination sites closer to them.
“When we started, we said we would have more than 650 vaccination sites. We have a partnership with universities so that the youth in those establishments don’t have to travel great distances… they can get vaccinated soon. We have sites even in communities – community halls and tribal courts – so we can vaccinate there, even in congregations.”
She said that in Richards Bay and other parts of the province, they had vaccination sites inside malls to target shoppers and employees.
Recently, the province intensified its mass vaccination programme, and members of the provincial cabinet went to churches, community residential units (or hostels), shopping malls and various other places to drum up support for getting vaccinated.
Article written by: Thobeka Ngema
Photo credit: News24