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Free State records new surge in COVID-19 cases

Staff Reporter

Free State health authorities say there is a surge in the number of new COVID-19 infections since the end of the Easter break two weeks ago.

Provincial health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said in a statement the large gatherings over the Easter weekend at churches, funerals and places of entertainment could be a major contributor to the latest spike in new cases.

“There have been new cases at schools after reopening as well as family clusters in Rocklands,” he said.

As of April 19, the province recorded 181 new cases.

At least 41 of the cases were in Mangaung Metro while Fezile Dabi had 21; Thabo Mofutsanyana 54; Lejweleputswa 61; Xhariep two and the other two cases are yet to be allocated to districts.

The figures bring the provincial total to 86 070 with 80 205 or 93 percent recoveries.

About 12 percent of the confirmed cases are of people below the age of 20 years.

There have been 3 777 deaths reported in the province with the highest case fatality rate reported in Thabo Mofutsanyana and Fezile Dabi districts.

The provincial case fatality rate is 4.4 percent.

About 3 301 of those who have succumbed to the disease are over the age of 45.

Of those who have died, 1 570 or 42 percent are males.

Mvambi said there is also a high incident rate in the Naledi Local Municipality area which includes Dewetsdorp, Wepener and Van Stadensrus because they have small populations living close to each other.

“The people of the Free State are urged to continue to observe all non-pharmaceutical interventions such as washing hands, wearing masks, keeping a safe social distance of 1.5 metres apart, avoiding unnecessary travel and closed congregational settings as well as practising cough etiquette by using the elbow when coughing,” said the provincial health spokesperson.

Mvambi said the health department encourages healthcare workers to register for vaccination on the Electronic Vaccine Data System in order to be enrolled for vaccination as part of Phase 1 of vaccination.

“The department further encourages senior citizens who are older than 60 years to also enrol themselves for vaccination . . . through the Electronic Vaccine Data System,” he said.

“We urge all citizens who are in possession of electronic systems such as smartphones, laptops and computers to help our senior citizens to be registered.”

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