Four deaths and less than 1,000 cases: COVID-19 in numbers in South Africa before reopening on 23 November

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Authorities in South Australia predict around 13 deaths – but up to 51 – following the reopening of its state borders in NSW, Victoria and ACT tomorrow – leaving COVID-19 in a jurisdiction that has largely avoided the ravages of the virus.

Since the start of the pandemic last March, SA Health has reported four deaths and 922 case in the state.

More than 5,000 cases of COVID-19 are expected within 300 days of November 23, according to modeling results released earlier this month.

Death

The last COVID-19 death reported in South Australia occurred on April 12, 2020.

The 74-year-old man has died after contracting the virus on the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

The other three deaths were reported in the previous five days – one was a woman from the Ruby Princess, one caught the interstate coronavirus, and the fourth was infected by a group of tourists who visited the Valley of the Barossa.

Francesco “Frank” Ferraro was the first death linked to COVID-19 in South Australia.(Provided: Facebook)

It was during this period – late March and early April 2020 – that the state recorded its most active cases and the most new cases in a day.

The most active cases were on April 4 – down from 361 – and the most new cases were 38 on March 26.

The highest number of hospitalizations was 23 on April 1 and the highest number in an intensive care unit was 10 on April 6.

Groups

Besides the 86 cases in South Australia linked to the Ruby Princess, the other largest cluster was 40 cases linked to two groups of tourists who visited the Barossa Valley in March 2020.

Tourists visited the region from the United States and Switzerland.

This has resulted in the closure of schools and restrictions on movement from the wine-growing area.

A sign reading
A school closed in the Barossa valley during a first regrouping there.(ABC News: Bretagne Evins)

The Parafield cluster in November 2020 resulted in a lockdown that was cut short after it was revealed that a pizza bar worker lied about his contact with other cases, leading authorities to believe that the strain they were were facing was more virulent than it was.

Thirty-three people were infected in the cluster.

A similar number was infected in connection with baggage handlers at Adelaide Airport in May 2020, while 22 were connected with the Modbury cluster in July 2021.

The latter group also resulted in a seven-day lockdown that effectively curtailed the outbreak.

Tests and records

Outside of epidemic times, the number of coronavirus tests performed each day in South Australia has fluctuated between 2,000 and 6,000.

The highest number of tests per day was 23,719 on July 24, 2021, during the Modbury outbreak, when high-traffic areas such as Westfield Tea Tree Plaza and Burnside Village were designated as sites for exposure.

During the Parafield cluster of November 2020, the number of tests peaked at 17,406.

As of December 2020, South Australians have been required to register using QR codes at businesses and other locations.

The maximum number of registrations using the mySA GOV app was on September 3, 2021, when 2.39 million marked their presence on the sites.

A QR code on a sign in a pedestrian mall
A QR code for check-in in the Rundle Mall.(ABC News)

The number has declined since then, despite the fact that QR check-ins have now been required on public transport since August.

Numbers typically peak on Friday and Sunday, as well as holidays.

The lowest number of registrations occurred on Christmas Day 2020.

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