The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, continues the monitoring and surveillance of COVID-19 in order to inform the public health response.

Today the institute reports 8,929 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2,311,232. This increase represents a 22.2% positivity rate. As per the National Department of Health, a further 596 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 67, 676 to date.

“Testing rates have decreased in the past 2 weeks, and while this may be reflective of a decreased need for testing due to decreased infections, access to testing has been limited in certain areas due to the social unrest,” comments Dr Michelle Groome, Centre Head for the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response at the NICD. “Thus, trends in the coming week will be important in confirming whether the peak of third wave has indeed been reached or not,” Groome adds.

14,310,166 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors as per the table below.

Sector Total tested New tested
Private 8,015,092 56% 20,025 50%
Public 6,295,074 44% 20,148 50%
Total 14,310,166 40,173

The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (37%), followed by the Western Cape (19%). KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 11%; the North West accounted for 8%; the Eastern Cape accounted for 7%; Mpumalanga and Limpopo each accounted for 6%; the Free State accounted for 4%; and the Northern Cape accounted for 2% of today’s new cases. The cumulative number of cases by province is shown in the table below:

Province Total cases for 19 July 2021 Adjusted numbers after harmonisation Updated total cases on 19 July  2021 New cases on 20 July 2021 Total cases for 20 July 2021 Percentage total
Eastern Cape 219,057 0 219,057 639 219,696 9.5
Free State 123,412 1 123,413 382 123,795 5.4
Gauteng 818,859 5 818,864 3,295 822,159 35.6
KwaZulu-Natal 376,398 -10 376,388 1,007 377,395 16.3
Limpopo 102,451 -4 102,447 540 102,987 4.5
Mpumalanga 114,667 3 114,670 510 115,180 5.0
North West 118,031 3 118,034 738 118,772 5.1
Northern Cape 63,582 0 63,582 143 63,725 2.8
Western Cape 365,847 1 365,848 1,675 367,523 15.9
Unknown 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
Total 2,302,304 -1 2,302,303 8,929 2,311,232 100.0

The total number of cases today (n= 8 929) is higher than yesterday (n= 7 209) but lower than the average number of new cases per day over the 7 preceding days (n= 13 131). The 7-day moving average daily number of cases has decreased.

Dr Harry Moultrie, Senior Medical Epidemiologist for Public Health Surveillance and Geospatial Modelling at the NICD says that the national 7-day moving average of SARS-CoV-2 cases has declined since 6 July 2021, largely because of the decline in Gauteng. “The percentage testing positive however increased in Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and Western Cape in week 28 compared to previous weeks. While the percentage testing positive has decreased in Gauteng, Limpopo and North West, the percentage testing positive remained very high (>35%) in these provinces,” he concludes.

For more detailed information, visit the GIS Dashboard.

There has been an increase of 808 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours. The following table is a summary of reported COVID-19 admissions by sector.

Sector Facilities Reporting Admissions
to Date
Died to Date Currently Admitted
Private 257 165,899 28,815 9,700
Public 409 178,707 42,382 7,478
TOTAL 666 344,606 71,197 17,178

For updates on the national vaccine programme, click here.

Thank you for your interest and remember that adhering to preventative measures limits your risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. For more information on COVID-19, click here.

Kind regards,
Sinenhlanhla Jimoh, Senior Communications Manager
National Institute for Communicable Diseases

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