With Gauteng battling the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the province yesterday said Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni had the biggest number of active Covid-19 cases.
As of Thursday, Johannesburg had 7679, Tshwane 5701 and Ekurhuleni 3649. The West Rand had the fewest active cases at 1182 followed by Sedibeng at 1588.
Addressing the media at its weekly Covid-19 briefing, the provincial coronavirus command council raised concerns about the number of new daily infections and a significant increase in weekly hospital admissions since 1 May.
Gauteng premier David Makhura said the province was reaching the threshold of high-risk infections. This means over the past weeks, there has been a sustained increase in the number of infections.
Makhura said the third wave was peaking slower than the first two and officials did not know when it would end.
“The spike is continuing. One week it gains faster momentum and slows down just a little bit, sometimes as a result of weekends,” Makhura said.
The council said the surges were due to social gatherings, where people were not observing nonpharmaceutical interventions like wearing masks, sanitising, washing hands and physical distancing.
This included large events, such as weddings, funerals, parties, religious services, political meetings and small gatherings of family and friends.
“The government is concerned about the sharp increase in the Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations in the province in the past week. This puts enormous pressure on Gauteng health facilities,” the provincial command council said in a report.
“We have increased the number of contact tracing and testing teams to meet the demand and we plead with residents to cooperate with them.”
As of 3 June, the cumulative number of active Covid-19 cases in Gauteng stood at 19 877, recoveries were 434 452, and the total number of fatalities was 11 339.
Currently, 2 956 patients had been admitted to hospitals, of which 955 were in ICU and high care with 1 981 in general wards.
Dedicated Covid-19-functional beds in the public sector totalled 2 728 and an additional 728 functional beds were due to be activated in the coming days.
On vaccinations, a total of 328 120 people had been vaccinated since the start of the government’s vaccination programme.
Healthcare workers and citizens older than 60 were being targeted in the vaccination drive. There were 103 vaccination sites in Gauteng, with 63 in the public sector and 40 in the private sector.
Makhura said they would ensure vaccination sites made adequate plans for walk-ins. Walk-ins were not allowed if people were not registered on the government’s electronic vaccination data system (EVDS).
However, “no person will be turned away, even if they are not registered, to ensure they get vaccinated,” Makhura said.
The provincial government urged more residents who are 60 years and older to register on the EVDS.