Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
17 Dec 2021
7:27 pm

Covid-19 update: 20,713 new cases reported in SA

Citizen Reporter

20.584,692 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.

A man receives a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at the Bang Sue Central Vaccination Centre in Bangkok on December 15, 2021, as Thailand speeds up its roll out of booster shots to guard against the Omicron variant. (Photo by Jack TAYLOR / AFP)

As of Friday, South Africa has recorded a total of 3.276,529 positive cases of Covid-19, with 20, 713 new cases identified in the past 24 hours.

This increase represents a 30.4% positivity rate.

The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (28%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (25%). Western Cape accounted for 18%; Eastern Cape accounted for 8%; Free State accounted for 6%; Mpumalanga accounted for 5%; North West accounted for 4%; Limpopo accounted for 3%; and Northern Cape accounted for 2% of today’s new cases.

As per the National Department of Health, a further 35 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 90,297 to date, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, announced.

20.584,692 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.

There has been an increase of 429 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours. 

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla on Friday said the Omicron variant was spreading rapidly across South Africa – and the world – but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the Covid-19-tunnel.

As of Thursday, 17 December, 24,785 new cases have been identified in South Africa, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,255,816

Fewer hospitalisations

Despite the sharp increase in new cases, fewer people require hospitalisation or oxygen.

Head of the division of public health surveillance and response at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), Michelle Groome, said:

“The hospitalisations are not increasing at such a dramatic rate. We are starting to see some increases, but relatively small increases in deaths.”

Covid-19 vaccines curb the spread

The decreased severity of hospitalisations, Phaahla explained, did not indicate the Omicron variant was less virulent, it merely suggests vaccines prevent serious illness.

Approximately 31% of the population is fully vaccinated, while 66% over the age of 60 are vaccinated.

Fewer people infected with the Omicron variant also required oxygen, especially when compared to the data collected during the previous waves.

That said, regardless of the Omicron variant, mask-wearing, social distancing, limiting large distancing protocols should still be followed.

READ MORE: Omicron: New Covid-19 cases soar but hospitalisations ‘not as dramatic’