04July2020

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confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 19 137

As of today, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 19 137.

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COVID-19 UPDATE 7-May-2020 (South Africa)

As of today, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 8232. 

Case Data

Provinces Total cases for 7 May 2020
Eastern Cape 929
Free State 134
Gauteng 1804
KwaZulu-Natal 1204
Limpopo 41
Mpumalanga 59
North West 40
Northern Cape 27
Western Cape 3994
Unknown 0
Total 8232

 

Testing Data

A total of 292 153 tests have been conducted to date with 12 774 tests done in the past 24 hours

Sector Total tested   New tested  
Private 146 774 50% 6 534 51%
Public 145 379 50% 6 240 49%
Grand Total 292 153   12 774  

 

Reported COVID-19 Deaths:

Regrettably, we report more COVID-19 related deaths: 2 from KwaZulu Natal and 6 from Western Cape. This brings the total national deaths to 161.

We wish to express our condolences to the loved ones of the deceased and thank the health care workers who treated these patients.

The provincial breakdown is as follows:

Province Deaths
Eastern Cape 18
Free State 6
Gauteng 15
KwaZulu Natal 40
Limpopo 3
Mpumalanga 0
North West 0
Northern Cape 0
Western Cape 79
Total 161
  • Written by NCID
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Coronavirus Pandemic: Why A Flu Jab Is A Good Idea In Countries Heading Into Winter

Marietjie Venter, University of Pretoria

As the southern hemisphere moves closer to winter, virologists are concerned about the upcoming influenza season. This may result in more people needing medical care for flu – including hospitalisation – while the health system is still battling the coronavirus. This may swing the pendulum in favour of SARS-CoV-2 by making it harder to control the pandemic, especially in Africa, which has recorded the lowest number of cases thus far.

There are many other respiratory viruses that circulate throughout the year. But the influenza virus can be deadly. Influenza epidemics occur in late autumn and winter – between May and August – in the southern hemisphere and during the rainy season, which may be year round in the tropics.

Most people who get influenza only have a mild illness: a fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and a runny nose. But influenza can also cause more severe illness. This includes lower respiratory tract diseases that cause difficulty breathing, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. These conditions may require hospitalisation or even be fatal.

These signs are very similar to those caused by COVID-19. It may create additional anxiety for patients and stress on the healthcare system this year. This is why it’s advisable that everybody get the influenza vaccine. It will not protect people from COVID-19, but it will reduce influenza-related illness and in effect ease stress on health services during this pandemic.

COVID-19 and influenza

People older than 65 are most at risk and could die of either flu or COVID-19. Influenza also causes severe disease in young children. This is different to COVID-19, which has so far caused very few fatalities in children under nine. Pregnant women and people with HIV or other immune suppressive conditions are at high risk for severe disease and even death due to influenza. People with underlying health conditions may also experience COVID-19 more severely.

It would appear that COVID-19 has a higher fatality rate (1%-5%) than influenza (less than 0.5%). But during winter influenza can infect up to a third of the population. Every year seasonal influenza kills between 100,000 and 600,000 people worldwide. There are around 11,500 deaths in South Africa alone.

So why should the annual influenza season concern us at a time when COVID-19 appears to be much worse than flu?

Well, firstly we want to avoid visits to doctors if possible during the pandemic. This will reduce the stress on the healthcare system and help patients to avoid exposure to COVID-19 infected patients, so as to avoid the risk of having influenza and COVID-19 co-infections. Little information is available on the severity of COVID-19 and other viral co-infections. But a recent report suggests that influenza and COVID-19 co-infections may result in more severe disease in high-risk patients and complicate the diagnoses.

This further emphasises the importance of getting the influenza vaccine. The pneumococcus vaccine can also reduce the number of bacterial secondary infections that can compound disease, especially in children and the elderly.

So who should get the vaccine?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends annual vaccination for high risk population groups. These include pregnant women, children aged between 6 months and 5 years, people older than 65 years, those with chronic medical conditions such as HIV, heart or lung problems, and healthcare workers.

Most countries provide vaccines for free to these high risk groups. But people of all ages will benefit from getting the flu vaccine. High-risk people should however be prioritised if the vaccine stocks run low.

There are, however, myths and questions about the flu vaccine that influence people’s decisions about whether to get the vaccine. These must be addressed.

  • How do I know the influenza vaccine matches the strains circulating during our season? There are three influenza subtypes that circulate globally at the same time that are included in the flu vaccine. Every year the WHO’s global network of National Influenza Centres collaborate to identify the most common strains that are circulating in the northern and southern hemispheres. These strains are then used to produce specific vaccines for each hemisphere that are ready in time for the following year’s influenza season. Influenza strains may mutate or drift genetically from year to year. But most of the time the strains in the vaccine are a very close match to the current circulating strains and provide protection against most if not all the strains in the vaccine.
  • Can the influenza vaccine make you sick? No, the influenza vaccine only contains dead flu virus so it cannot give you flu. The flu vaccine is produced in eggs and killed to make the vaccine. Some people who are allergic to eggs may have a reaction to the egg proteins and shouldn’t get the vaccine, but this is rare.
  • Is it true that there is mercury in the vaccine that could be toxic? In the past, a preservative called Thimerosal was used in vaccines that contained trace amounts of ethyl-mercury. Etyl-mercury is not the same as methyl-mercury, which is found in certain fish and can be toxic if consumed at high levels. Nevertheless, due to public concerns Thimerosal was removed from all vaccines in 1999.
  • I still got sick in the past after getting the flu vaccine. Other viruses such as rhinovirus or respiratory syncytial virus circulating at the same time as flu can also cause an infection with the same symptoms. The vaccine is about 50%-70% effective in preventing the flu. But if you do still get sick or if you get a co-infection with another virus, the flu vaccine will still reduce the severity of disease.

The flu vaccine will not protect you from getting COVID-19. But by being protected from influenza, people could avoid unnecessary doctors’ visits and protect vulnerable groups from potentially more severe disease.The Conversation

Marietjie Venter, Head: Zoonotic arbo and Respiratory virus Program, Professor, Department Medical Virology, University of Pretoria

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

  • Written by NCID
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African Countries Are Moving To Make Masks Mandatory: Key Questions Answered

Community members wearing protective face masks as they queue for aid in Zandspruit informal settlement, north of Johannesburg.

Shaheen Mehtar, Stellenbosch University; Lucille Blumberg, University of the Witwatersrand, and Marc Mendelson, University of Cape Town

Many countries, including South Africa and Nigeria in Africa, are moving to make it mandatory to wear non-medical cloth masks when people are outside their homes. The move is seen as a vital additional measure to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19.

Wearing cloth masks is being introduced in conjunction with maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres and strictly following hygiene measures such as hand washing, good cough etiquette, and decontamination of regularly used surfaces.

Medical face masks have been a vital part of COVID-19 prevention efforts in East Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea.

In countries where medical face masks are preserved for healthcare workers or are scarce, fabric face masks provide a cost-effective alternative. These can be homemade and are reusable.

There has been a growing movement of homemade mask production. Factories have also repurposed to produce fabric face masks to support commercial and free distribution.

In South Africa wearing a cloth mask in public places is now mandatory. In our view, there is sufficient evidence to suggest if everyone wears a mask, droplet transmission from each person will reduce and minimise exposure.

Transmission

The early phases of the COVID-19 epidemic included an evolving understanding of the routes of transmission of the coronavirus. It is now well established that droplet transmission is of vital concern. In the case of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus in 2002, viral shedding via the respiratory tract happened mostly after people developed symptoms. But COVID-19 includes a pre-symptomatic phase where people can be infectious and still feel healthy and be unaware that they are infected. Mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic cases also occur.

Mandatory masking ensures that viral transmission by any potential carrier is markedly reduced. It emphasises the concept of “source control", in other words controlling the amount of a pathogen that is present in the environment. This is well expressed through the slogan: “I protect you, you protect me". This was popularised by the #masks4all initiative, started by a group of researchers and scientists to promote the scientific evidence showing that cloth masks limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

An additional benefit of the ubiquitous wearing of face masks is the reduced possibility that respiratory droplets will be released to settle on surfaces – or for smaller aerosolised particles to float in the air.

For those still in doubt, we have answered some key questions to address the biggest areas of controversy:

Why should I wear a cloth mask? To prevent potential transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 via respiratory droplets and particles released when you talk, laugh, sing, shout, cough or sneeze, or to prevent the potential inhalation virus laden particles. A cloth face mask also serves as barrier that prevents touch transfer from surfaces to your mouth and nose and a reminder not to touch other parts of your face – especially your eyes. In addition, a face mask reduces the extent to which droplets and particles end up on surfaces or float in the air.

When should I wear a cloth mask? As a general rule, any time that you are outside your home, and especially in close contact situations such as when using public transport, shopping, working, or in any crowded setting. If a person in your household is possibly infected with coronavirus, face masks must be used when in close proximity, in conjunction with separating living quarters. Helplines and healthcare providers are good places to go for additional steps to follow.

Can I make my cloth mask out of anything? The most effective approach is to use a thicker weave material such as cotton for the outer layer, and then to include at least two layers of softer material for comfort and additional barrier protection. Test the materials combined for breathability before sewing. There should be some resistance to airflow, but you should be able to breathe freely when using the completed mask. Fit is important to minimise air bypassing the cloth barrier via the sides. Materials used should be easily washable and heat tolerant for cleaning. Stretchy material should be avoided.

How do I wear the mask? Never share a mask with anyone and always use a mask that is freshly cleaned. Wash or sanitise your hands before putting on the mask and when removing. Ensure that it covers the area from the top of your nose to below your chin. When you remove the mask, move your hands forward so you can fold the front over itself. Hold on the sides and place in a safe area for cleaning.

How do I reuse a mask? A cloth mask can be washed in hot water with soap or washed in a washing machine. Iron or sun dry. You can also drop the mask into boiled water and leave to cool to a temperature that allows you to wash the mask with soap or washing detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals such as bleach as this will be toxic when wearing the mask. By having two masks available, you can wear one, and have one to wash.

Dr Warren Parker a public health communications specialist, and Dr Beth Engelbrecht from the Western Cape Department of Health contributed to this article.The Conversation

Shaheen Mehtar, Infection Prevention and Control specialist, Stellenbosch University; Lucille Blumberg, Deputy Director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and a member of the joint staff, University of the Witwatersrand, and Marc Mendelson, Professor of Infectious Diseases, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

  • Written by NICD
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COVID-19: Returning Back To Work

Following parts of the economy opening up while working to flatten the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) curve, proper precautions should be in place for the returning working population. This includes people who have recovered from COVID-19 infections. In a series of four interviews, Dr Ahmad Haeri Mazanderani speaks about the measures that should be put in place to protect employees from COVID-19 and how should their return to work be managed.

Listen to the full interview on https://soundcloud.com/national-institute-for-communicable-diseases/returning-back-to-work-dr-ahmad-haeri-mazanderani-full-interview

  • Written by www.nicd.ac.za
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About The NWHEALTH

  • MANDATE

  • Mission and Vision

  • Values

OUR MANDATE:
The Department derives its mandate from the following laws:
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, 108 of 1996
Provides for the rights of access to health care services and emergency medical

VISION:
Healthy self reliant communities in the North West
MISSION:
To render accessible, equitable and integrated quality health

IN RENDERING SUCH SERVICES WE SHALL OBSERVE VALUES CONTAINED IN THE:
Batho Pele Principles, Patient Rights Charter, Victims Rights Charter, Children's Rights Charter, Disability Rights Charter, Older Persons Pledge, Public Service Principles, Accountability, Transparency, Community participation, Excellence, Caring, Human dignity & respect,Access

Provincial Office Contacts

Postal Address:

Private Bag x2068, Mmabatho, 2735

Physical Address:
Cnr 1st Street & Sekame Road, Mafikeng, 2745

Telecommunication:
Tel: +27 (0) 18 391 4000/1

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