Premier Alan Winde on Wednesday confirmed an established Covid-19 resurgence in the Western Cape, after the province saw new cases increase by 52,1% over the last week alone
“There is also now established community transmission of the virus again in this province, which means that it is spreading within communities at a faster rate. This growth is primarily driven by two districts in the Western Cape: the Garden Route and the Cape Metro,” he said.
“Last week, we issued a hotspot alert for the Garden Route, following an alarming growth of cases in the area. This surge has continued to gain momentum and there are now more active cases in George and Knysna sub-districts than at any point in the pandemic to date.”
Winde warned that the City of Cape Town was following a similar trajectory, although it looked to be about 10 to 14 days behind.
“We are, therefore, also issuing a hotspot alert for the metro. It is important to highlight that the growth in cases in the City is being recorded in every sub-district and is not being driven by any one area. This is verified by waste-water treatment testing,” he said.
“While the growth in cases province-wide has mainly been driven by these two districts, we are also worried about the Cape Winelands, which is starting to record a concerning number of new cases.”
According to the province’s Covid-19 dashboard, 993 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours.
Of the 125 369 cumulative cases in the province, 7 241 are active; 114 145 people have recovered, while 4 573 have died.
Winde said 54 people have been hospitalised in the last 24 hours alone.
“Hospitalisations reached a low of under 500 in September, and they have now reached 904 as of yesterday. There are currently 431 people in public hospitals and 473 in private hospitals in the Western Cape,” he said.
“Our Brackengate Hospital of Hope went from having just a few patients in September, to 109 as of today. In fact, since the start of November, Covid-19 hospitalisations across the province have increased by 63%. The private sector has increased by 94%, while the public sector has increased by 39%.
“Critical care admissions have increased by 75% since the start of November. This is particularly concerning as an admission to a critical care unit is an indication of severe illness that might lead to death.”
Winde said he wanted to avoid de-escalating key healthcare services, as well as another lockdown, because the economy “simply cannot afford it”.
“There is, therefore, only one option available to us all. We have to bring the situation under control through our own actions. We have to do everything possible to ensure that we do not get infected by Covid-19 and that we do not spread Covid-19.”
Winde said the province would, through its Disaster Joint Operations Centre (JOC), be ‘drastically increasing high visibility enforcement’ of Covid-19 regulations to help slow down the spread of the virus.
“The JOC, which has linkages to local joint operations centres across the province, is best placed to coordinate law enforcement. It has a direct link to the SAPS, as well as law enforcement and environmental officers in the Western Cape,” he said.
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