Although new COVID cases have not yet shown an upward surge, the fact that the test positivity rate had climbed past 10% is cause for concern.
According to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, the 2383 new infections recorded in the past 24 hours came from 23 352 tests at a positivity rate of 10.2%. Yesterday the positivity rate stood at 9.86%, and in the days beforehand had been gradually creeping upward.
The government has previously expressed concern when the positivity rate (the percentage of COVID tests that return positive) reaches the 10% and 12% marks. In late November, ahead of the second wave, the case positivity rate was 14.5%. Some provinces of South Africa are reporting rates well in excess of this, particularly the Northern Cape which last week had a reported positivity rate of 24.1%.
Dr Mkhize also reported that there were 72 Covid-19 related deaths in the past 24 hours. The health minister also reported that across SA there were now 171 860 people who had received their first shot of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
With these latest figures, there are now 1 637 848 cumulative cases and 55 874 cumulative fatalities since the outbreak of the coronavirus in SA in March last year. However, the true toll may be much higher, as South Africa’s ‘excess deaths’, those which are above the average rate of deaths from all causes, were up to 2.67 times higher than the official toll. A report from a team at the SA Medical Research Council and University of Cape Town believed that around 85% of those excess deaths were due to COVID.
Source: Times Live