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SUSTAINED INCREASE IN COVID-19 CASES

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has observed an increase in the 7-day moving average for new COVID-19 cases and the percentage testing positive in Gauteng, particularly in Tshwane amongst 10 – 29 year olds over the past week.

Additionally, the NICD has recently identified a cluster amongst the 20 – 44 age group at an institute of higher education in Tshwane.

“We are monitoring these trends to see if these increases persist,” comments NICD Acting Executive Director, Prof Adrian Puren.

He continues, “Localised increases in case numbers (clusters) are not unexpected, however, it is hard to say whether the increases indicate the start of a widespread resurgence.”

At present the National Department of Health reports that 41% of adults in South Africa have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 35% fully vaccinated.

“It is difficult to predict the magnitude and timing of a potential COVID-19 resurgence, however, we implore the unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine, especially the elderly and those with comorbidities,” stresses Head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, Dr Michelle Groome.

She furthermore adds that vaccination and prior infection provide good protection against developing severe disease, and while there might be an increase in future case numbers, the number of hospitalisations and deaths are expected to be less severe in comparison to previous resurgences.

“As the endemic endures, I would like to reassure the public that the NICD continues to acutely monitor trends in case numbers, positivity rates and hospitalisations,” Puren concludes.

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