Covid-19 infections on the rise in KZN — here’s what is being done to prevent further spread
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said on Sunday the provincial government was faced with the challenge of rising Covid-19 infections.
He said the provincial government had also noted a worrying trend of children getting infected with Covid-19 during the third wave.
Cumulative cases in KwaZulu-Natal stand at 476,193, according to the latest figures from the health department.
Here’s how the province is strengthening its fight against Covid-19:
Extending contracts for health workers
Zikalala said the employment contracts of healthcare workers in the province will be extended by a further six months to run until March next year to help strengthen the province’s fight against the coronavirus.
“More than 15,000 staff members — including nurses, administrative clerks, data capturers and general orderlies, — will be retained to lead provincial efforts to defeat Covid-19 so we ultimately achieve population immunity,” said Zikalala.
To achieve herd immunity, the province needs to administer 7,5 million vaccinations. Zikalala commended efforts by the province which have seen the vaccination of more than million eligible adults.
“Our target is to reach 60,000 daily vaccinations which could help us reach our target by the end of March next year. This will allow us to firmly focus on the task of rebuilding the economy and saving jobs.”
Getting the over-18 cohort to vaccinate
Zikalala said people aged 18 years and older have so far made a positive contribution to give the vaccination drive much-needed momentum. He said the youth have come out in numbers since vaccinations were opened to the group earlier this month.
He said the vaccination of this population group will offer blanket protection of adults in society, including those living with comorbidities.
“The over-18 population group has the power to change the narrative around vaccination and make it positive. This is especially so on social media, which is one place that shapes people’s opinions and their general outlook.
“We are pleased the over-18s are coming out in numbers and sharing selfies and posting videos of themselves getting vaccinated.”
Covid-19 in schools
Zikalala said the province is intensifying non-pharmaceutical protective measures in schools to ensure pupils are protected against infection.
“The province has recorded more than 1,100 Covid-19 cases in 350 schools in the past three weeks. These numbers are increasing daily. Sadly, the pandemic has claimed the lives of two 12-year-old schoolchildren and a nine-year-old.
The premier said the province has recorded 227 cases of Covid-19 home deaths. He called on families to allow funeral parlours to test their deceased loved ones to ensure accuracy in recorded cases.
“This is a service the health department offers free of charge. It is extremely important that we properly document these deaths because they inform our approaches and strategies to save lives in future,” he said.