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COVID-19 cases soar by 354, the highest 24-hour spike to date

In addition a further 10 deaths have been reported, taking the total death toll to 103.

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced a significant increase in confirmed COVID-19 infections, with 354 new cases taking the total to 5,350.

This represents the highest number of cases in a 24-hour cycle recorded to date and represents a 73% increase relative to the day before.

In addition, a further 10 deaths have been reported, taking the total death toll to 103.

Of the 10 additional deaths recorded, three were from Gauteng, four in the Western Cape, two in KwaZulu-Natal and one in the Eastern Cape.

In a statement, the Health Department said that while the major increase in cases was well noted, the interpretation of the rate of spread was more reasonably assessed by studying trends over time.

"The total number of tests conducted to date is 197,127, of which 11,630 were done in the last 24 hours. This is the highest number of tests done in a 24-hour period, representing a 66% increase relative to the previous day’s tally. Additionally we have also recorded the highest COVID positive result yield from a 24-hour cycle of testing at 3%."

The department also noted that the number of new cases in the Western Cape had almost doubled from 133 on Tuesday to 264 on Wednesday. This was also the highest number of new cases in this province in any 24-hour cycle.

Also of note is that this province has the highest positivity yield from their tests in the past 24 hours at 7.5% when compared to other provinces.

"In the past 24 hours the Western Cape contributed to 75% of the total new cases nationally while only contributing 30% of total tests over the same period.

"These concerning trends have prompted us to plan for additional support to be deployed to the province to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The province has been asked to recruit additional personnel and 30 Cuban doctors will also be sent to reinforce the human resource capacity."

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