Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, says there has been an investigation behind the recent increase of Covid-19 deaths in the country. FILE PHOTO Pictured: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

Health department probing sudden increase of Covid-19 deaths

“Due to late reporting and high number of patients dying as persons under investigation (PUIs), and home deaths that are not reported, there is a delay in reporting deaths.”

CAPE TOWN – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, says there has been an investigation behind the recent increase of Covid-19 deaths in the country.

After the country entered alert Level 1 of the lockdown last month, Covid-19 cases increased by six per cent. The World Health Organisation (WHO) expressed concern, as the increase came when the continent is experiencing an overall decrease in infections.

In his daily statistics update, Mkhize said that they have consulted with provinces to ascertain the reason for increased numbers. He also admitted that there has been a noticeable increase in the number of deaths recently.

“This has caused us concern as we have received reports from the Medical Research Council (MRC) that there have been no excess deaths for three weeks in a row. We have received reports that provinces are implementing the recommendations of the MRC to reconcile the data with Home Affairs deaths data.

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“We welcome this robust refinement of data collation as it reassures us that, moving forward, we exercise precision in our epidemiological surveillance. In addition, provinces are auditing the deaths data either by mining data from the DATCOV surveillance reports and identifying unreported deaths or auditing the facilities on the ground,” said Mkhize.

As per the last report KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest number of deaths at 105. However, according to the provincial health department, these deaths did not happen in the past 24-48 hours. 

“Due to late reporting and high number of patients dying as persons under investigation (PUIs), and home deaths that are not reported, there is a delay in reporting deaths. Only one of these newly reported deaths occurred within 24-48 hours. Five percent of the newly reported deaths occurred at home,” read a statement from the department.

Last month, due to a ‘two-week delay’ in reporting, saw a massive jump in Free State Covid-19 deaths.

The cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases has risen to 686 891, with 1 736 new cases identified since the last report. The number of recoveries now stands at 618 771, which translates to a recovery rate of 90 percent.

 

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