As the number of Covid-19 deaths and infections keeps rising in KwaZulu-Natal, the provincial government is making efforts to handle the situation while simultaneously dealing with protests by health workers at various hospitals and the increasing number of HIV/Aids patients dying from the virus.
Addressing a media briefing, flanked by Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, Premier Sihle Zikalala said the pandemic was beginning to cause scars.
Zikalala said as of Sunday, 23751 people had tested positive for Covid-19 in KZN; last week the number stood at 13984. The number of people who had died had risen to 280, up from 182 last week. This meant the province was in the midst of a rise in the number of cases and was now registering more than 1000 cases every day, he said.
“The most common recorded comorbidity among the deceased include hypertension (29%) and diabetes mellitus (30%). The proportion of HIV-infected (8%) deceased patients has also increased. The number of deceased with no recorded comorbidity has also increased. There is also an increase in the number of patients who are dying on arrival, as well as home deaths,” Zikalala said.
The median age of deaths is 62, with 55% of deaths being male.
eThekwini municipality was still in the lead with 67.4% of deaths coming from the district, followed by uMgungundlovu.
“The medical and scientific team had projected the province to be at more than 200000 patients by mid-July.
“We are currently sitting above 23000 confirmed laboratory cases. This says we are behind the projected figures. We also looked at the projected ICU admissions, which was just above 5000 and we are sitting at just above 45,” he said.
The premier railed against people protesting against the government over alleged lack of personal protective equipment and buildings not being deep cleaned or sanitised.
Zikalala said upon investigating the matters, they realised that some protests, which were characterised by the locking of gates and digging of holes to prevent access to facilities, were being driven by people with ulterior motives.
Simelane-Zulu said when a person tested positive for the virus, they conducted contact tracing and sanitised the areas frequented by the patient.
She said it was expensive and not practical to shut down an entire facility due to a single person testing positive.
She said they were also in the process of building a new field hospital to deal with the rise in the number of sick people.