South Africa recorded more than 550 Covid-19 deaths in one day, but the department of health moved to allay fears, saying the high number of fatalities included a backlog.
“The Department of Health has today recorded over 500 Covid-19 deaths due to going audit exercise conducted by provinces across the country to address a backlog of Covid-19 mortality and new cases,” health authorities said Thursday.
“Out of 551 deaths recorded today, only 45 have occurred in the past 48 hours.”
The department said provinces such as the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal account for 476 historical combined deaths in patients with documented SARS-Cov-2 infection.
The causal agent of Covid-19 has been characterised as an RNA virus, namely, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
“The identification of these historic deaths is part of the process to align the provincial death line list with excess deaths,” explained Foster Mohale, the spokesperson for the national health department.
Provincial Covid-19 dashboards reflect deaths by “date of death” rather than by “date reported”, providing the most accurate trends in fatalities of patients with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection.
South Africa has reached past the peak of the fourth wave driven by the new variant – Omicron.
Scientists in South Africa were the first to detect the new variant late in November, last year.