South Africa: SA Covid-19 Deaths Exceeds 37,000 Mark

South Africa's death toll due to Coronavirus has now surpassed the 37 000 mark after 254 people passed away on Sunday.

According to the latest data, 72 deaths were recorded in the Western Cape, 59 in Gauteng, 40 in KwaZulu-Natal, 26 in the North West, 22 in the Eastern Cape, 16 in Mpumalanga, 13 in Free State and six in the Northern Cape.

This brings the total to 37 105 deaths since the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the number of infections has risen to a cumulative 1 337 926 with 12 267 new cases identified since the last report.

Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said there are 202 380 COVID-19 cases.

A bulk of active cases can be found in KwaZulu-Natal sitting at 64 016, followed by Gauteng with 45 363, while 40 437 can be found in the Western Cape. Meanwhile, the North West has 13 652 people who are currently infected, 10 064 in Free State, 8 528 in Mpumalanga, 8 461 in Limpopo, 7 390 in Eastern Cape and 4 469 in the Northern Cape.

In addition, the recovery rate stands at 82.1% after 1 098 441 patients beat COVID-19.

"The cumulative total tests conducted to date is 7 613 470 with 54 696 new tests conducted since the last report."

According to the World Health Organisation, there have been 93 194 922 confirmed global cases of COVID-19, including 2 014 729 deaths.

KwaZulu-Natal cases surge

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said the province recorded 29 147 new infections in the last seven days.

"The infection rate continues to increase particularly in the following districts eThekwini, UMgungundlovu, UThukela, Amajuba, Zululand, UMkhanyakude, UMzinyathi."

However, he said the numbers came down slightly by 3 000 on Wednesday last week.

"We are not treating this a trend as yet, due to the fact that the new variant is bringing surprises. As they say, one swallow does not make a summer."

He raised concern that the province continues to rank number one in the country in terms of the number of active cases, while it has the second-highest total number of laboratory-confirmed cases countrywide after Gauteng.

"We are ranked the fourth highest countrywide in terms of fatalities with a total of 6 318 deaths."

According to the Premier, eThekwini has contributed 44% of the reported deaths, which stand at 2 769.

The median age for the deaths was 62, while more than half of the deceased were female at 54%.

He said of these deaths, 4 826 (77%) had comorbidities, with the most commonly recorded comorbidities include hypertension (25%), diabetes mellitus (22%), cardiac diseases (5%) and retroviral infection (5%).

Meanwhile, the number of deaths with no recorded comorbidities is rising.

"Worryingly, these statistics are telling us that a whole 33% of the deceased patients had no underlying illnesses."

Meanwhile, 11 419 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19 in the public sector since the beginning of the pandemic in KwaZulu-Natal, while 107 did not make it.

The majority of the infected are nurses (55%), with doctors accounting for 6%, and the rest are attributed to other categories of staff.

As of 15 January 2021, the province had 4 975 patients admitted hospitals, of which 2 869 were in private hospitals. Of those admitted, 524 patients (11%) required intensive care services.

Zikalala said private hospitals had more patients in the intensive care unit.

While the number of cases and deaths are increasing, Zikalala said hospitals are not yet full.

"We have increased our bed capacity and oxygen supply," he said on Sunday.

He said out 2 905 available COVID-19 isolation beds, 2 082 or 72% were occupied.

"And from a total of 115 ICU beds allocated in the public sector, 53% were occupied. We have 823 beds available in our health facilities within the province and additional beds in our field hospitals and private facilities such as lodges and hotels."

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