'The storm is here' - more than 3 000 infections a day in KZN, says Premier Sihle Zikalala

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Premier Sihle Zikalala speaking at a Covid-19 press briefing.
Premier Sihle Zikalala speaking at a Covid-19 press briefing.
KZN government
  • KZN's new Covid-19 infections was 3 400 on Saturday, an all-time high for the province.
  • The east coast province recorded over 20 000 new infections in just seven days.
  • Premier Sihle Zikalala urged citizens to quarantine at government facilities.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has sounded the alarm for Covid-19 infections, saying the province registered 20 000 more positive cases in just one week.

"The picture has dramatically changed. We have now arrived at a point where almost everyone knows somebody who has been infected with Covid-19. It is no longer a disease from the distance, it is here at home," he said in a late Sunday briefing.

Zikalala said the surge was continuing, with eThekwini and uMgungundlovu districts recording more than half of the daily cases.

The province has contributed 27% of the new cases reported nationally and continues to be the fourth highest countrywide.

Said Zikalala: "A week ago, we had 40 045 positive cases, of which 2 574 were still active. We also had 2 758 new cases, and 11 055 recoveries. As of yesterday (25 July 2020), KZN has had 60 602 positive cases, of which 38 667 were still active. Sadly, we once again had new deaths this week, bringing our death toll to 614."

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He said the daily cases was nearing 4 000.

"As we observed that just yesterday [Saturday] alone we recorded 3 405 new cases. This therefore means that in just one week, we have had 20 557 new Covid-19 cases; 198 new deaths, and 10 196 additional recoveries. Our recoveries to date as a province stands at 21 251."

'Quarantine with government'

Zikalala also urged the public to quarantine with government saying there were plenty of beds in the province.

"One of the things we want to emphasise is the importance for people to be quarantined or isolated at a government facility. We have enough capacity. We are urging Covid-19 patients to come forward and be quarantined and/or isolated at these facilities that have been made available by government."

He said this would help ensure patients were well-monitored.

"They are less likely to transmit the virus to others - unlike at home, where adhering to safety protocols may be a challenge."

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He said there were 16 401 beds available in KZN, of which more than 3 000 were for isolation.

"We also decided that instead of building more quarantine sites, we should be able to hire buildings such as hotels, B&Bs, and lodges. Out of those, we have 11 833 beds that we can use. We also have 1 162 quarantine beds within our own buildings."

Zikalala added that Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, one of the biggest in the province, had 49% of patients admitted in intensive care units followed by Grey's Hospital.

Of those admitted in ICU, 81% were ventilated. More than half of the ventilated patients were admitted at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital.

"It is now our friends, colleagues, neighbours, brothers, mothers and sisters that we know that have confirmed to us that they have tested positive. The storm is here and can be seen through the unprecedented number of infections," he said.

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