COVID-19 in SA: Concerns over ‘increase’ in confirmed cases [graph]

A cautionary tale, perhaps? South Africa has been operating under Level 1 restrictions since Monday, but already, the data analysts are seeing the number of COVID-19 cases rise steadily.

COVID-19 cases rise during Level 1 – analysis

Looking at the seven-day averages for positive COVID-19 results, we see that there has been a slight uptick this week, when compared to the previous seven-day period. This is the first time in 10 weeks the trend has moved upwards. Ridhwaan Suliman, of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has mapped these developments:

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The data shows an increase in average cases during the first week of Level 1 – Photo: Ridhwaan Suliman / Twitter

COVID-19 death toll in South Africa

Although it’s far from representing a ‘spike’, Suliman – a senior researcher for CSIR – has said this is ‘something to watch closely going forward’. Another 1 861 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday, taking our total caseload to 667 049. The health department published the last figures late last night:

“Regrettably, we report 77 more COVID-19 related deaths: Seven from Eastern Cape, eight from KwaZulu-Natal, 58 from Gauteng, and four from Western Cape. This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths to 16 283.”

“We extend our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers that treated the deceased patients. Our recoveries now stand at 595 916 which translates to a recovery rate of 89.3%.”

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, on Thursday 24 September

What is ‘test positivity’?

The seven-day average for deaths has also increased this week but by the barest of margins. Standing at 72 last Friday, the figure has crept up to 73. This, however, isn’t causing as much concern as our latest ‘test positivity’ numbers.

Essentially, this variable measures the percentage of people whose coronavirus tests come back positive. Clue in the name, really. But this has also bucked a nine-week trend, by going in the wrong direction. It’s risen from 9.2% to 9.8%, and serves as a reminded that this virus isn’t going away any time soon…

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Photo: Ridhwaan Suliman / Twitter

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