SA reports 18 507 new COVID-19 cases, 712 deaths

The Department of Health has reported 18 507 new Coronavirus infections, which brings the nation’s total to 1 296 806 since the outbreak.

Meanwhile, 712 more people died due to COVID-19 fatalities on Thursday, pushing the death toll to 35 852.

Of the latest fatalities, 232 were recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, 162 in the Western Cape, 114 in Gauteng.

Ninety-seven deaths occurred in the Eastern Cape, 50 in the North West, 21 in Free State, 15 in the Northern Cape, 11 in Limpopo and 10 in Mpumalanga.

“Our recoveries now stand at 1 049 740, representing a recovery rate of 80.9%,” said Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

KwaZulu-Natal is still leading in terms of active cases which are sitting at 67 583, followed by Gauteng with 49 162, while 40 933 can be found in the Western Cape.

Meanwhile, the North West has 12 559 active cases, Limpopo 10 952, Mpumalanga 9 720, Free State 9 404, Eastern Cape 7 018 and Northern Cape 3 883.

Also, the total of tests conducted to date is 7 433 571 with 74 830 performed in the last 24 hours.

To date, there are 90 335 008 confirmed global cases of COVID-19, including 1 954 336 deaths, reported to the World Health Organisation.

Western Cape oxygen usage

The Western Cape has since put in place systems and interventions to ensure sufficient oxygen supplies to hospitals in the province as the number of hospitalisations peak.

Over the past week, the combined oxygen utilisation for public and private hospitals in the province has been approximately 73 tonnes daily.

“This is still above the total production output of 70 tonnes for Afrox’s Western Cape plant,” said Premier Alan Winde, adding that the provincial government is working closely with the supplier and has secured additional supply from outside of the province.

The province said it has five bulk oxygen tankers allocated for the daily delivery of oxygen supplies to individual hospitals.

The oxygen utilisation is monitored carefully using the specially designed internal dashboard, which is updated daily so that the Department of Health and individual facilities can check their oxygen consumption.

“This allows us to get a view of the whole system to monitor oxygen usage across the province, allowing us to identify and address any pressure points early on.”

It also allows facility managers to simulate patient numbers based on that facility’s specifications, allowing them to determine how changes in patient profile would impact oxygen supply.

“For facilities which do not have bulk oxygen supply, the dashboard allows them to estimate the number and size of oxygen cylinders they would need to order to provide specific treatment. It also includes a reporting tool which determines daily pressure points in the system with regard to the timeous delivery of cylinders.”

Winde said hospitals continue to experience extreme pressure and is calling on residents to stay vigilant in implementing prevention measures in their daily lives.

According to the province’s recent data, there are 3 512 patients who are hospitalised due to COVID-19, with 381 of these in intensive care unit or high care.

“Wearing your mask, practising good hygiene and social distancing remain key in COVID-19 prevention. It is important that you avoid crowded places, confined spaces and close contact.”

He is also urging people to ensure there is fresh air circulating when people meet, by going outside, or by opening doors and windows in offices, and in businesses. –

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