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Covid-19 outbreaks at 89 schools in Eastern Cape

Health MEC 'particularly concerned' about high mortality rate in rural districts

12 August 2021 - 12:30 By TimesLIVE
Pupils are screened before entering class. File photo.
Pupils are screened before entering class. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Eastern Cape health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth says pupils at 89 schools in the province had been infected with Covid-19 in the space of seven days.

The MEC, giving a briefing about the pandemic and vaccination rollout on Wednesday, said there were 7,370 active cases in the province.

The province had seen an increase in Covid-19 cases with 4,886 new cases reported in the first week of August — 13% higher than cases reported in the previous week at the end of July.

Meth said a new threat to efforts to contain the spread of the virus had “come in the form of outbreaks that have been reported at schools in Amathole, OR Tambo, Chris Hani, Sarah Baartman, Nelson Mandela and Buffalo City metros.

“At the last count there were 89 schools that have learners who contracted Covid-19 in the past seven days.”

The health department had moved swiftly to manage these outbreaks and locate, screen and test contacts.

“The department of health has increased interventions on surveillance, screening and testing and also the capacity to isolate those who are at high risk. The education department has enhanced its prevention measures and infection control,” she added.


Posted by Eastern Cape Department of Health on Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Schools were being encouraged to ensure there was good ventilation in classrooms.

“The outbreaks in schools cannot be viewed in isolation from the communities where they are located. The provincial government appeals to the community leaders and other stakeholders to ensure the observance of the Covid-19 regulations under alert level 3,” said Meth.

Social gatherings, parties and funerals remained a serious risk of driving infections in the province.

While the overall number of deaths was declining, Meth said the province was “very concerned with the high mortality rate among those infected with Covid-19. Particularly, we are concerned about the high mortality rate in the rural districts.”