COVID-19: Concerns over Amajuba District death rate. “Schools responsible for cluster cases”

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The KZN Department of Health stated that the KZN Province ranks third highest in laboratory-confirmed cases countrywide. In light thereof, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said the surge in the new infections is linked to the following:

  • The recent large gatherings by people engaging in looting and destruction of property.
  • An increase in Interprovincial travel.
  • Large gatherings at pubs and restaurants.

However, what is truly concerning, is that the Provincial Government has also noted an increase in cluster cases, with schools emerging as the most significant contributor in this regard.

During a media briefing, Zikala said, “In fact, more than 120 schools have reported clusters in their school settings; and more than 800 learners and teachers have been affected. Learners make up at least 95% of this number, while educators account for the remaining 5%.”

In the latest 24-hour reporting cycle, our Province has registered a total of 3 445 confirmed COVID – 19 cases,  pushing the total number of cases to 427 908. KwaZulu-Natal currently has 44 171 active COVID-19 cases, 12 714 registered deaths overall, and 374 995 recoveries.

Moreover, the Province has also had an increase in the incidence risk from 116 – 131 cases per 100 000 population group. The increase occurred in eight districts, except for Amajuba, Uthukela, and Umzinyathi, while EThekwini, UMgungundlovu, Ilembe, King Cetshwayo and Zululand observed a drastic increase in cases.

When looking at the increase in cases, Zikalala explained that the Government has also noted an increase in deaths. Over the past week, a 16% increase in the number of deaths was noted compared to the week before.

The fatality rate now stands at 3% (3% deaths among people who tested positive), with a mortality rate of 110 deaths per 100 000 population group (risk of dying in the KZN population and respective Districts due to COVID-19). Furthermore, the Premier explained that Harry Gwala, Amajuba, Umkhanyakude and Umzinyathi districts have an even higher case fatality rate, at more than 4%.

He elaborated, “In terms of the mortality rate, Amajuba District stands at 174 deaths per 100 000 population group, followed by Umgungundlovu at 171 cases per 100 000 population group, and King Cetshwayo at 120 deaths per 100 000.”

The number of deaths occurring at home increases daily, which is also concerning because these are people whose lives might have been saved, had they presented themselves to hospitals.

In conclusion, Zikalala emphasised, “The increase in the number of daily cases per week is a clear indication that we are not yet out of the woods and should therefore not let our guards down. The transmission level is still very high. This means the chances of infected people spreading the virus to other people is still very high in KwaZulu-Natal.”

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