Rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in Ugu district

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Covid-19 cases more than doubled in the Ugu district in the past week.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala announced the latest numbers on Sunday.

Ugu saw an increase of 293 cases, from 232 to 525, over the past seven days.

Two people lost their lives, putting the total death toll at six, while 77 people have recovered.

100 DAYS OF COVID-19

Zikalala said, “Yesterday marked exactly 100 days since the implementation of the lockdown and country’s two Covid-19 deaths in South Africa, which occurred in the Western Cape, and were announced on 26 March 2020. A lot has happened since then.

“The country has since conducted 1,7 million tests, with a total of 177 124 positive cases, 2952 deaths, and 86 298 recoveries.

“Whereas last Sunday our Province had registered 7786 confirmed Covid cases, 112 deaths, and 3417 recoveries; these figures have, over the past week alone, grown astronomically to 13 984 positive cases, 182 deaths, and 4197 recoveries.

“This represents the biggest jump to date, which once again bears testimony to the fact that we are well and truly on our way towards reaching our peak of Covid-19 in the Province, and indeed in the country.

IMPACT ON RESOURCES

“The exponential growth in the number of patients who had to be admitted after getting tested has resulted in a higher Covid-19 bed occupancy rate, which currently stands at 10 % of the active cases. About 29% (n=283) of that comes from the public health facilities, and 71 % (n=694) in the private sector as of 04 July 2020.

“On 4 July 2020, the province had 977 patients admitted in both private (n=694, 71%) and public (n=283, 29%) hospitals.

“A total of 121 patients (12%) were admitted in intensive care unit in both public (n=27) and private facilities (n=94). Of those admitted in ICU, 37% were ventilated (n=45).

“A total of 160 patients (16%) were admitted in high care units in both private (n=137) and public (n=23) facilities.”

CAPACITY AT FIELD HOSPITALS, WHERE WE ARE TREATING COVID PATIENTS WHO ARE STABLE, REMAINS AS FOLLOWS:

Field hospital Category Capacity Occupied Vacant Admissions Discharges Transfers
Montclair Lodge Isolation 156 3 153 0 1 0
Coastlands DBN Quarantine 250 15 237 2 0 0
City Lodge DBN Quarantine 140 11 129 0 10 0
City Lodge Umhlanga Quarantine 163 0 163 0 0 0
Coastlands Umhlanga Quarantine 136 0 136 0 0 0
PMB Showground Isolation 254 20 235 5 0 0
Total 1 099 49 1 053 7 11 0

TRENDS/HOTSPOTS

“Ethekwini District has the highest infection rate (135 cases per 100 000) followed by UMgungundlovu. UMgungundlovu District had drastic increase in incidence rate from 26-125 cases per 100 000 population in 11 days (22-4 July 2020),” continued the Premier.

“In fact, recently, UMgungundlovu District has been reporting more cases than ILembe daily. UMkhanyakude is the only district with less than 10 cases per 100 000 population provincially.”
Distribution of cases and deaths by district, from 5 Mar -4 Jul 2020

District New cases %. New cases Total cases %.Total Deaths Case Fatality rate (%)

EThekwini 578 47.1 7 666 54.8 128 1.7
ILembe 51 4.2 1 054 7.5 8 0.8
UMgungundlovu 239 19.5 1 833 13.1 8 0.4
UThukela 39 3.2 631 4.5 13 2.1
King Cetshwayo 94 7.7 625 4.5 5 0.8
UGu 68 5.5 525 3.8 6 1.1
Amajuba 45 3.7 393 2.8 1 0.3
UMkhanyakude 10 0.8 128 0.9 3 2.3
Harry Gwala 24 2.0 288 2.1 8 2.8
Zululand 40 3.3 252 1.8 2 0.8
UMzinyathi 20 1.6 182 1.3 0 0.0
Unallocated 19 1.5 407 2.9 0 0.0
Total 1 227 100.0 13 984 100.0 182 1.3

5 July updated figures:

DENIALISM

Zikalala added: “We have absorbed with extreme worry a number of instances in which people appear to be in denial about the very existence of Covid-19. This is merely on the basis that they do not know anyone who has died because of this disease.

“We want to strongly denounce this kind of thinking because it poses the risk of increasing the rate of transmissions due to reckless behaviour. Covid-19 is here. It is deadly, and will cause unprecedented devastation if we do not change the way we behave.

DISTRIBUTION OF PATIENTS BY AGE AND SEX

“Female cases continue to dominate with more than half of the confirmed cases (56%). Among the new cases received on 4 Jul 2020, female cases dominated (57%). Male cases peak between the ages 25-39 years. Female cases peak from 25-49 years.

LABORATORY STATUS IN THE PROVINCE

“Of the 1 227 new cases reported on 4 Jul 2020, private laboratories confirmed 74% of the cases. The overall proportion of cases confirmed by the private laboratories were 63%.

FATALITIES, 28 MARCH-1 JUL 2020

“The province recorded four new Covid-19 related deaths on 4 Jul 2020. A total of 182 deaths (1.3%) were reported in 10 (91%) of the 11 districts since the beginning of the pandemic. EThekwini Metro Municipality contributes 70% of the reported deaths (n=128).

“The median age for deaths is 62 years (range 24-96). Male patients continue to dominate the fatalities (52%, n=95). The proportion of deaths in female patients increases daily. Deceased female patients dominate in those aged 81 years and above.

COMORBIDITIES (DECEASED)

“The most common recorded comorbidities amongst the deceased include hypertension (31%) and diabetes mellitus (32%). A total of 16 (6%) deceased patients were reported to have been HIV positive. The number of deceased patients with no recorded comorbidities is also increasing.

RECOVERIES

“The overall proportion of recoveries for the province is 33% (n=4 197).

CONTACT TRACING STATUS

“KwaZulu-Natal province managed to identify 20 316 contacts to date. The province managed to monitor more than 90% of the identified contacts (n=20 300). Of the total monitored contacts, 99% had their specimens collected. The positivity rate amongst contacts was 4.7% (n=939/20 133).

LATEST ON THE ECONOMY

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected various economic agents including enterprises, households and individuals in unprecedented ways.

“The easing of lockdown restrictions to Level 3 has brought some kind of relief that has seen increased economic activity across various sectors of the economy. This development will tone down the otherwise huge effects of the lockdown that had since started filtering to the national economic data, as recently reported in the GDP and Employment statistical data releases.

“GDP contracted by 2% in the first quarter of 2020, whilst the rate of joblessness increased to 30.1% for the country as a whole and for KZN.

“Although it is encouraging to observe that most businesses are adhering to the health protocols that have been put in place by the government, we are once again concerned about reports of individuals who are not adhering to social distancing and other health protocols.

“These include wearing masks and hand sanitization, which are crucial protocols in our fight against this invisible pandemic.

“In order to better understand the challenges and needs of the various business sectors within the province, the EDTEA Executive authority conducts weekly engagements with selected sectoral and industry representatives.

“The weekly engagements have been complemented by a provincial survey to establish an evidence-based understanding on the effect of Covid-19 on the provincial business spectrum.

“The survey confirmed that at a high level, some of the top challenges confronting business in the province include:

● “Cancellation or reduction of orders due to subdued demand on the back of low levels of incomes among the public, a considerable number of whom have not been working during Lockdown Levels 5 and 4. The other reason is that a substantial part of the population are still skeptical about venturing in the public due to fear of contracting the dreaded virus.
● “Cash flow constraints. Most companies have reported that the eligibility criteria for most relief funds offered by the government exclude a number of them further worsening their cash flow positions. In cases where business establishments have accessed the government relief funds, they have reported that the funding instruments are not agile enough to respond to the real and immediate business challenges.
● “A number of businesses report difficulties relating to employees contracting the Covid-19 virus compelling them to further shut down for building disinfection in line with the provisions of the lockdown regulations. This negatively affects productivity at the same time creating heightened safety anxiety amongst other staff.
● “Most companies are facing closure and we are seeing spikes in Section 189 processes -retrenchments

BACK TO SCHOOL ARRANGEMENTS- COVID-19 IN SCHOOLS

“The number of infected individuals in our schools is increasing. This week the number of reported positive cases is at 429 which is an increase of 242 from 187 cases we reported last week.

“The new figure includes 306 teachers, 81 learners and 42 other employees of the Department. UMgungundlovu District remains the hardest hit district with 93 positive cases. The breakdown per district is as follows:

“We are saddened to announce that five (5) of employees from the Department of Education have succumbed to COVID-19. They are two (2) teachers from Zululand, one (1) teacher from Umzinyathi, one (1) teacher from Umlazi and a security guard from ILembe.

“The total number of affected schools is currently 345 schools in the province. The good news is that 236 schools have returned to full operation after all due processes were followed.

“Other 70 schools are ready to receive teachers and learners back tomorrow for teaching and learning. The 39 schools that reported positive cases on July 2 and 3 are expected to return to normal by not later than Wednesday.

“It is expected that new cases will keep coming forcing some of the schools to take a break while dealing with issues of screening, testing and decontamination.

“The Department will release a protocol, on Monday, to further clarify steps to be followed when positive cases are reported in the Department. This will bring uniformity in the manner the entire Department will deal with both suspected and positive cases as it is important at times such as this to maintain stability by eliminating factors that may cause anxiety and confusion.

“We always encourage Departments to maximise their co-operation in addressing challenges emanating from this pandemic.

ADDITIONAL GRADES RETURNING TO SCHOOL ON 6TH JULY 2020.

“The Minister of the Department of Basic Education; Mrs Angie Motshekga on Thursday, 2 July 2020, hosted the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) which agreed on the grades that will return to schools tomorrow and subsequently other grades at a later stage. That decision was reached after careful consideration of all factors presented to the CEM.

“The national decision was that Grades 6, 11 and R will return to school on Monday, 06th July 2020. KwaZulu-Natal has, however, opted to delay the return of Grade R to schools until a later date that will be communicated in due course.

“In preparation for the returning grades, the department has purchased additional Covid-19 essentials. The Department has also a challenge of ensuring that both learners and teachers who have underlying health conditions are protected from the virus. Necessary measures have been put in place to support the learners and the teachers. Measures are in place to ensure that there will be no class without a teacher.

INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE

“In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department continues to ensure proper water supply to schools throughout the province. 3 425-water tanks have been provided to schools.

“Further, as part of health promotion to minimize health risks in schools, the Department has a responsibility to ensure that schools have sufficient sanitation facilities. 1 060 toilets have been provided to schools after an audit.

“The Desludging Programme in the rural schools is also implemented and monitored to ensure that schools’ ablution facilities are kept at an acceptable standard whilst the Department is constructing new ablution facilities, which meet specified acceptable standards.

NATIONAL SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMME (NSNP)

“As more grades return to schools, the Department is ready to provide all learners with nutritious meals as prescribed. In addition, the Department has put systems in place to provide meals even to learners who will not be returning to schools tomorrow.

“There are 2.34 million learners from 5 344 schools who are the beneficiaries. Covid-19 has put tremendous pressure on all of us and our communities that are already struggling financially.
The Department has taken necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus while preparing and serving meals to learners. Food Handlers have been trained in the prevention of Covid-19 spread and the necessary PPE has been delivered to schools.

CONCLUSION – WHERE ARE WE AND WHERE ARE WE GOING AS KZN PROVINCE

“As grim as the current statistics are, the curve has not yet exceeded the projected prevalence and bed occupancy rates. However, we must hasten to emphasise once again that we are now in the eye of the storm. It is vital that we abide by the regulations and take all the necessary safety precautions.

“We should, at all times, be mindful of our safety during social interaction; and adhere to protocols such as avoiding large gatherings; practice social distancing of at least 1.5 metres; wash our hands regularly with hand sanitiser or soap and water; not to shake hands; and cover our nose and mouth when we sneeze or cough.

WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE TESTS POSITIVE

“If someone tests positive in the workplace, do not panic. Contact the National Institute for Communicable Diseases on 0800 029 999; or the Provincial Hotline on 033 846 6000; or use the WhatsApp number 060 012 3456. Thank you.”

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