South African hospitals have 9 202 Covid-19 patients, 6.6% of whom are in intensive-care units (ICUs), the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) said.
Of the 603 people in ICU, 248 are on ventilators, the institute said in a report on Thursday.
The economic hub of Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria, accounts for 3 422 of admissions and the coastal KwaZulu-Natal province for 1 770. The numbers compare with the 9 324 who were in the hospital a day earlier, with 6.6% of those in ICU.
The epicentre of South Africa’s Omicron-fuelled fourth wave of infections has shifted to KwaZulu-Natal, a popular destination for domestic tourists during the summer holiday period, from Gauteng, according separate NCID reports published this week.
The November 25 announcement of the discovery of the Omicron variant sparked concerns of a surge in severe cases, but the country’s three biggest private hospital groups have said that so far it appears to cause milder illness than other strains.
South Africans contracting Covid-19 in the fourth wave of infections are 80% less likely to be hospitalised if they catch the Omicron variant, compared with other strains, according to a study released Wednesday by the NICD.
Hospitalisations peaked at nearly 20 000 in January and July, the crest of the country’s second and third waves respectively.
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