Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
6 Jun 2021
3:14 pm

KZN not in Covid-19 third wave yet as cases rise in schools

Molefe Seeletsa

As KZN continues to see a rise in the number of new Covid-19 cases, the province has since so far recorded 340,856 confirmed cases.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Twitter

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) premier Sihle Zikalala has indicated that that the Covid-19 third wave has not hit the province at this stage.

Speaking during a media briefing on Sunday, Zikalala said the provincial government was concerned with the increase in the number of Covid-19 new cases recorded weekly.

“The overall percentage change in the number of new cases between week 21 and 22 was 24%. The actual number of new cases were 726 for week 21 and 900 for week 22 respectively,” the premier said.

As KZN continues to see a rise in the number of new Covid-19 cases, the province has since so far recorded 340,856 confirmed cases, while 10,534 people have lost their lives to the virus.

Third wave

The premier also said that the province was not in the third wave of Covid-19 infections yet, but there was indication that the province might enter it.

“Many people have been asking whether the Province of KwaZulu-Natal is in the third wave yet? The answer is, at this stage, no.

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“In terms of our emergency early warning systems, a 10% increase in cases over a seven day moving average will trigger an alert, while a 20% increase in cases over a seven day moving average will trigger resurgence, which may indicate that we are entering a third wave of Covid-19 infections.”

He further said that the provincial government continued to monitor trends and signals of resurgence.

“Our focus is on identifying clusters and conducting targeted testing in the affected areas, identifying and strengthening contact tracing,” he said.

Covid-19 in schools

The premier pointed out that they was also concerned by an increase of Covid-19 cases among a few schools in the province, which has reported high numbers of infections within a space of few days.

“On Friday, 4 June 2021 one school under Umzinyathi District reported 16 positive cases of learners, while another school under Uthukela District reported 15 positive cases of learners.”

This comes amid the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) decision, confirmed this week, that school learners will go back to school on a full-time basis despite the surge in Covid-19 infections.

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Deputy Minister of Basic Education Reginah Mhaule told the parliament portfolio committee on education on Tuesday all stakeholders had unanimously agreed it would be right for learners to go back to school on a full-time basis.

According to the Government Gazette, all pupils from Grade R to 7 and all schools for learners with special education needs from Grade R to 12, will return to their normal classes on 26 July.

Vaccinations

Meanwhile, Zikalala said the provincial government was “quite pleased with how the rate of vaccination has been proceeding in the province”, however, “there is always room for improvement”.

“From our 124 vaccination sites so far created in the public sector, and 18 in the private sector, we have managed to vaccinate a total of 360,451 people in the province. This is made up of 237,195 senior citizens aged 60 and above, and 123,256 health workers.”

The premier added that the provincial Department of Health would open a further 21 new vaccination sites this coming week in order to accommodate educators.

The educators will be getting vaccinated from Wednesday.

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“We will be receiving 110,400 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines for this category.  We already have a database for these educators, which should make their vaccination easier.

“These educators will be guided by management in their respective districts and circuits, regarding which sites to go to, in order to get vaccinated.

“Some districts will open new sites, where sites don’t already exist; while others will have to designate their existing sites accordingly, to accommodate the teachers. We’re also exploring the possibility of opening these vaccination sites on weekends, because educators work Monday to Friday.”

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