Covid-19 deaths still rising in four provinces: health department

Infections also continue to rise nationally but at a lower rate, data shows

Tanya Farber Senior science reporter
The Western Cape's increase in hospital admissions stands in sharp contrast to a 46% drop in Gauteng. File photo.
The Western Cape's increase in hospital admissions stands in sharp contrast to a 46% drop in Gauteng. File photo.
Image: Emile Bosch

Covid-19 hospitalisations have decreased in every province except the Western Cape, where pressure on the health system continues to mount.

Presenting the data at a ministerial briefing early on Friday, deputy director-general for health Dr Anban Pillay said over the past two weeks, admissions in the Western Cape had gone up by 13%. The average number of daily admissions was 434 patients.

The Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Northern Cape are still seeing increases in infections however, and two provinces that have shown a distinctly different pattern from others are the Northern Cape and the Free State, “neither of which came out of their second wave for very long before numbers went up again”.

The Western Cape's increase in hospital admissions stands in sharp contrast to a 46% drop in Gauteng, a 35% drop in Limpopo and drops of 20% or more in the Free State, Mpumalanga and the North West.

Deaths have increased in four provinces (Western Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape), with the Western Cape again the worst hit with a 36% increase and about 95 people dying every day over the past fortnight.

“Nationally, we are on a downward trajectory with infections in this third wave, but we are still seeing one in four tests coming back positive,” said Pillay, adding that infections are still increasing in a number of provinces.

“The good news is that Gauteng is continuing to decline and we are hoping this trend continues, but the Western Cape is still steadily increasing and has now surpassed Gauteng.”

Also, within some provinces, patterns vary across districts. For example, in the Eastern Cape the heaviest spread is happening in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro and Sarah Baartman district, whereas in the Free State, “all districts are contributing to the high caseloads observed in the province”.

Dr Joe Phaahla, appointed as the new health minister on Thursday night, said, “We know this pattern — the epicentre starts off being in a particular province and then the surge moves to other areas. It was Gauteng, but now the coastal areas are our focus, and the Western Cape in particular, which had over 4,000 infections in one day.”

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