Johannesburg, Dec 6:  Patients hospitalised with Omicron in South Africa show less dependence on oxygen, early recovery, according to a new report.

The report, which analysed symptoms and severity of patients with Omicron from Tshwane — an epicentre of the outbreak — also showed a marked difference in patient condition from that of previous waves seen in the two years of pandemic.

However, “the trend will become clearer over the next few weeks,” Abdullah said.

Moreover, there were only 2 patients in the Covid ICU in the last 14 days, neither of whom had a primary diagnosis of Covid pneumonia, showing less severity of Omicron. Sixty-three patients were admitted to high care, but our anecdotal information is that the majority of high care admissions were for a diagnosis other than Covid. Detailed study reports are awaited.

“Another significant early finding in this analysis is the much shorter average length of stay of 2.8 days for SARS-CoV-2 positive patients admitted to the Covid wards over the last two weeks compared to an average length of stay of 8.5 days for the past 18 months,” Abdullah said.

“The relatively low number of Covid-19 pneumonia hospitalisations in the general, high care and ICU wards constitutes a very different picture compared to the beginning of previous waves.

However, the information represents just the first two weeks of the Omicron wave in Tshwane and the “clinical profile of admitted patients could change significantly over the next two weeks,” Abdullah said.