The densely populated province of Gauteng now has the highest number of active Covid-19 cases in South Africa, at just over 30 000.
“The month of June has seen a sharp spike in the number of confirmed cases on a daily basis. Gauteng now has the largest number of active cases,” Premier David Makhura said in a virtual presentation on Thursday.
This comes as Gauteng recorded 45 944 cases, with 12 957 recoveries and 244 deaths as of Thursday, 2 July.
The province is expected to experience a surge in Covid-19 cases with 120 000 by the end of July and 300 000 by the end of August, according to Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku.
The Covid-19 storm
This has been dubbed the “Covid-19 storm” by Makhura, who is of the view that it has already arrived in the province.
The surge is expected to surpass the Western Cape in numbers over the next few weeks, the national health ministry has previously said.
“Hospitalisation has also increased exponentially in the past 14 days. Although the mortality rate is still low it is increasing. The Covid-19 storm has arrived,” Makhura explained.
It was also reported that the maximum bed capacity in the province had been reached.
Gauteng health department spokesperson, Philani Mhlungu said in an earlier report on Thursday that this was based on the number of maternity cases, neonatal ICU cases, mental health (substance abuse) cases, trauma cases (alcohol) and Covid-19 cases.
In addition, Makhura further noted that health services and workers are beginning to feel the impact of Covid-19 as the load increases and the pandemic is gaining momentum ahead of the projected peak in September.
“Through behavioural change we can mitigate and minimise the impact of the pandemic,” he said.
The premier stated that while residents of Gauteng are participating in important protests and marches during the pandemic, these activities do contribute to the spread of the virus.
“There are several funerals and marches where social distancing and wearing of masks are not observed.
“Citizens and communities are showing signs of fatigue at the time we need their cooperation and active observance of the hygiene and social distancing measures,” he explained.
Makhura has further cautioned residents of Gauteng that “July will be a difficult month”.
“Over the next four weeks, ward-based Covid-19 response teams will be active in localities to help get the message out to communities about the need to observe health and hygiene measures, social distancing and wearing of masks,” he concluded.