This tool shows the most vulnerable Covid-19 hotspots in South Africa right now

Stats SA has updated its South African Covid-19 Vulnerability Index, which tracks the areas in the country most likely susceptible to the coronavirus.

First launched in December 2020, the index was developed as a way of using the smallest area population data available and incorporating dimensions and indicators to statistically reflect localised risk factors that may contribute to the spread of Covid-19 for each individual against the set criteria being measured.

Stats SA said that the updated index gives more weight to the indicators related to age, overcrowding, use of chronic mediation and multigenerational households to make it more relevant in identifying communities that should be prioritised during the vaccination rollout.

The use of census 2011 data allows for the index to be mapped to the smallest possible area, known as an enumeration area (EA), which is the smallest geographical area into which the country is divided for census purposes and contains between 100 to 250 households.

Nine provincial dashboards were developed, and the index can be queried at a placename and municipality level.

Stats SA said the updated dashboard could potentially be used to:

  • Locate vulnerable communities.
  • Define priority groups and the best methods of communicating to help define a tailored outreach and communication plan.
  • Assist to plan the location of dispensing sites, especially for the mobile units, and to monitor uptake.

“The index we are releasing is an adaptation of the vulnerability index produced last year by focusing on factors that speak more closely to the need and priority of receiving the vaccine,” said Stats SA’s Demographic and Population Statistics chief director, Diego Iturralde.

Iturralde said that the Index could enable public health decision-makers to focus on areas where vulnerability is driven by overcrowding, multi-generational households, elderly and exposure to chronic conditions.

“These make up 60% of the index score and the other 4 indicators make up the outstanding 40%,” he said.

The dashboard can be accessed here.

Read: Harder lockdown for South Africa beckons as Gauteng passes 10,000 daily Covid cases

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This tool shows the most vulnerable Covid-19 hotspots in South Africa right now