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SA not in third wave yet, says NICD — but here are provinces at risk

14 May 2021 - 07:12 By unathi nkanjeni
There was a worrying increase in the number of new Covid-19 infections across SA, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Thursday.
There was a worrying increase in the number of new Covid-19 infections across SA, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Thursday.
Image: Piyamas Dulmunsumphun/123RF

New Covid-19 data released by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) shows infections rising in parts of SA. 

The NICD is a division of the national health laboratory service and according to the institute, SA has not entered a new wave. 

Here is what you need to know.

SA not yet in a third wave

On Thursday, the NICD said though the country has seen a rapid increase in the percentage testing positive for Covid-19 and the seven-day moving average of confirmed cases nationally, SA has not met the threshold for a new wave. 

However, the institute's acting executive director, Prof Adrian Puren, said while SA has not yet crossed the national threshold for a new wave, we could reach this point in the coming weeks. 

“If members of the public rapidly implement meticulous social distancing and adhere to non-pharmaceutical measures, the transmission will decline and the third wave will be delayed,” said Puren. 

“And with the vaccination of elderly people scheduled to commence next week, delaying the third wave will provide more time to vaccinate those most at risk for severe disease, and will thus save lives.”

Resurgence in Covid-19 cases 

The NICD said, according to a ministerial advisory committee technical working group, a resurgence in Covid-19 case will occur when the seven-day moving average incidence exceeds 30% of the previous wave’s peak. 

At the peak of the second wave, the seven-day moving average reached 18,800 cases on January 11, with a daily average of 5,600.

On Wednesday, the national seven-day moving average incidence was 1,950 cases.

Rapid increase in Covid-19 in three provinces

The number of new Covid-19 infections from the last week (May 3 to 9) showed an overall 46% increase compared to the previous week (April 26 to May 2), said the institute.

The Northern Cape (68%), Gauteng (63%) and Limpopo (47%) topped the list of provinces with new cases. 

There has also been an increase in hospital admissions and Covid-19-related deaths increased by 18% compared to the previous week, with the Eastern Cape and Western Cape (both 21%), Gauteng (20%) and KwaZulu-Natal (19%) accounting for 81% of all reported fatalities. 

Provinces in a third wave

At a provincial level, the NICD said Free State was now experiencing a third wave. 

Northern Cape never met the technical criterion for exiting the second wave and has experienced a significant resurgence in recent weeks. 

Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West and the Western Cape are showing sustained increases.

Limpopo and Eastern Cape are the only two provinces not at risk of a third wave at present.