Covid-19 in KZN: The numbers will go down, but I can't say if we hit our peak - Health MEC

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KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu-Simelane Zulu
KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu-Simelane Zulu
PHOTO: Kaveel Singh, News24
  • KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said the health department believed Covid-19 infection numbers could start dropping soon.
  • She, however, stated the province was not out of the clear yet.
  • Simelane-Zulu said the eThekwini metro, with 40% of the province's population, was the most affected municipality.

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu says the province's Covid-19 infections could be going down, but she would not say if it had already peaked or not.

"We find in the past two to three days, our numbers have stagnated around 80 000 to 85 000 [infections], but I believe in the next seven days or so, the numbers will be going down. Those who got into the system 10 days ago are slowly beginning to get out. We believe in the next few days, the recoveries will be high," she told journalists in Durban on Monday.

Simelane-Zulu was speaking on the sidelines of a community engagement programme in KwaMashu, where she visited the Bester community, a Covid-19 hotspot in the eThekwini metro.

During her question-and-answer session, she said while the numbers are dropping, she could not definitively say if KZN was past its peak.

"We had 6 700 infections in one day and we got that last week. Ever since then, our numbers have been declining very slowly. The numbers are small, but they have been declining, nonetheless.

"[However], at this point it would be premature for me to indicate whether we have gone past our peak or not or if we have a slump for now and it will go up again. Maybe in the next week or so we might have a proper sense of what is happening and then we will be able to speak to that."

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Simelane-Zulu said the recovery rate was also slow because of the ferocity of the second wave.

"Our recovery rate has been slow. The reason for that is because the second wave hit us in one go. So, what happens is your positive cases will stay in the system for at least 10 days before they have recovered.

"You must remember though, the issue of recoveries does not amount to the people hospitalised. The majority of those people are self-isolating and adhering to protocol.

"We are working on ensuring those in our systems, we can only discharge them once they feel better. We think in the next five days or so we will be seeing a difference in infections."

Bed capacity

The province was generally overwhelmed with infections in both the public and private sector, she said.

She added:

The private sector are running out of beds, some hospitals have requested permission from the department to put up temporary structures at their facilities. We have allowed this as long as they are within the facility and will have clinicians who will look after them.

"In our own facilities, in some we are under pressure in some facilities, in eThekwini metro in particular. It goes without saying KZN has a population of around 11 million and more than 40% of that population is in eThekwini.

"We are talking about 3.5 [million] to 3.9 million in eThekwini. We have close to 20 hospitals, yes, some of them are struggling, but not all of them are full."

Simelane-Zulu added patients would be moved to available hospitals.

"We have decided that as a province we are going to ensure we move around patients in the district where it is necessary to do so."

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