Funerals, protests remain a major contributing factor to Covid-19 spikes in Gauteng - Makhura

Gauteng Premier David Makhura during a Covid-19 provincial presentation. -@GautengProvince, Twitter
Gauteng Premier David Makhura during a Covid-19 provincial presentation. -@GautengProvince, Twitter
  • As of 29 July, Gauteng recorded 168 369 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 1 836 virus-related deaths.
  • In six days, between 24 and 29 July, the province recorded 19 515 Covid-19 cases.
  • Johannesburg remains the worst affected region, recording 70 330 cases.

As Covid-19 infections continue to surge in Gauteng, Premier David Makhura reiterated funerals and protests remain problematic and a major contributing factor in the spike of cases in the province.

Delivering the province's weekly update on Covid-19 on Thursday, Makhura said the province was still in the midst of the storm and Gauteng had not yet seen the peak.

This despite the fact the latter part of July had seen a drop in new daily cases being recorded. From 23 July, new daily cases did not break the 5 000 mark.

Makhura attributed this slowdown to the work being done at grassroots level in the province.

He added while the infection rate had slowed down, this was not an indication Gauteng was beyond the peak, but it was a matter of waves.

Makhura said more waves of infections were expected as the province reached the peak.

READ | 'Gauteng went from 230 daily Covid-19 cases to over 3 000 in one month'

"We have not reached the peak, we should not lower our guard".

Confirmed Covid-19 cases in the province began increasing exponentially towards the end of June, which continued into July. Between 24 and 29 July, it recorded 19 515 confirmed cases of the virus.

By 29 July, the province had recorded 168 369 confirmed cases, 1 836 deaths and 106 360 recoveries.

In terms of the regional breakdown, Johannesburg remains the worst affected region, recording 70 330 cases, followed by Ekhurhuleni with 37 678 and Tshwane which recorded 33 017 cases as of 29 July.

Smaller municipalities such as Sedibeng recorded 10 722 cases, while the West Rand has 11 059.

Hot spots

The province's advisory committee has also been modelling the hotspots in Gauteng, which can be defined as a small pandemic because of the manner in which they behave.

The hotspots have a slow initial growth of infections, followed by exponential growth which then leads to the peak before the increase in cases begins to level. These hotspots typically collapse within one to four weeks and can be managed.

READ | People do leave our hospitals alive, says Masuku about Covid-19 deaths in Gauteng

However, because the province is in the surge, the transmission of the virus is happening throughout province and not only in the identified hotspots.

Makhura said while there were hotspots that were dying down, they could reappear if infections began to surge in the area again.

He added the creation of hotspots could always be traced back to an event that led to the spike of infections in that area.

Giving an example of this, Makhura said Mabopane and Soshanguve in Tshwane were currently considered as hotspots where infections have started to spike.

"As we speak now, the numbers are shooting up in that area and we traced it to one funeral and a second funeral on 17 July where over 1 000 attended the funeral."

He added large gatherings, especially funerals, protests and marches were still problems that have the ability to lead to the exponential growth of infections.

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