South Africa has recorded 7 552 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the past 24-hours, bringing the total number of cases to 873 679.

The country has also recorded 210 new COVID-19 related fatalities, pushing the death toll to 23 661.

In a statement, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says most of the new deaths were recorded in the Eastern Cape.

“Regrettably, 210 more COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 95, Free State 6, Gauteng 10, KwaZulu-Natal 23, Limpopo 6 and Western Cape 70. This brings the total to 23 661.”

Recoveries now stand at 764 977.

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Increase in hospitalisations and deaths

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Health Department says the province continues to see a marked increase in COVID 19 cases, well above levels in the first wave. Most concerning is the increase in hospitalisations and deaths.

Head of the Western Cape Department of Health Doctor Keith Cloete says hospitalisations and proportion positive numbers are headed toward levels seen at the peak of the first wave.

Cloete says there has been a reported 48% increase of cases last week alone.

“We can also confirm that our reported deaths and very importantly, our reported hospitalisations, the provincial figure like this basically means we had a 48% increase in the last week and you can see the proportion positive is now starting to approximate what we saw in the first wave – about 35% positivity of all samples sent to the lab and the key message is that hospitalisation and that proportion positive is increasing and we are now approximating both for death and hospitalisation, what we saw in the first peak, although the cases have already exceeded the first peak.”