Cape Town reports spike in burials

Cape Town cemeteries have experienced incremental increases in the number of burials in recent weeks as it grapples with the impact of a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

From just over 300 in a week towards the end of June, the number of burials last week increased to 483.

“The increase in burials underscores the increase in Covid-19 infections and fatalities since the start of the third wave. For the moment, our cemeteries are able to cope with the increased demand, but we renew our appeal to residents to please consider burials on weekdays and where possible, to consider alternatives to burial.

“We also ask that funeral organisers be mindful of the current regulations in terms of the number of attendees and time allowed at the cemetery. In recent weeks, the City’s Environmental Health Practitioners have expressed concern about the non-adherence to regulations at funerals,” said the city’s mayoral committee member for Community Services and Health, councillor Zahid Badroodien.

Badroodien reminded residents that cemetery visits are not allowed at this time. “While memorial work can still continue if the relevant permits have been secured, unveiling ceremonies cannot be accommodated until further notice.”

During the last week, Klip Road cemetery in Grassy Park had 151 burials, Maitland 126 and Welmoed cemetery 76.

The Maitland crematorium facilitated 89 cremations, and 48 cremations were transferred to the private crematorium in Durbanville, as one of the cremators at Maitland is closed for maintenance.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, on Tuesday reported 8,929 new Covid-19 cases countrywide, taking 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, taking total fatalities to 67,676 to date. The NICD noted that fewer tests have been conducted.

There has been an increase of 808 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours, the NICD said.

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 said 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,” he said.

Third wave

In terms of the third wave, the Cape metropole continues to see significant numbers of new cases on a daily basis, the City of Cape Town said. In the past week, there were 485 fatalities and a 6%t increase in hospital admissions.

In terms of the vaccination rollout programme, more than half a million vaccine doses have been administered in the metropole.

‘We continue to see improved participation in our vaccination rollout, and this is truly heartening. The 35 – 49 cohort has played a significant role in this regard, and we thank them for that,” said Badroodien.


Read: Slow vaccine rollout threatens to disrupt South Africa’s economic recovery: Nedbank

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Cape Town reports spike in burials