As the City of Cape Town has been issued with a Hotspot Alert, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says people in the province must be under “no illusion as to how serious the situation is, and how quickly it can deteriorate further”. Hospitals are already fuller than they were earlier this year during the first wave of hospitalisations, he said.
In a statement on Thursday, the Premier said: “We need every person in the Western Cape to help prevent a Lockdown and to ensure that there are enough empty beds in our hospitals for those who need them.”
Covid-19 resurgence in the Western Cape
Yesterday he confirmed there is an “established Covid-19 resurgence in the Western Cape” and that urgent public response was required to protect the health system. A resurgence is when the number of active cases increases week-on-week by more than 20%.
“Over the last week alone, the province has witnessed a 52.1% jump in new cases, with an established pattern over time,” Winde said. “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.”
Covid-19 Hotspot Alerts for Garden Route and Cape Metro
This growth is primarily driven by two districts in the Western Cape: the Garden Route and the Cape Metro. A hotspot alert was issued for the Garden Route last week, but the alarming growth of cases has continued with more active cases in George and Knysna than at any point in the pandemic so far, said Winde.
The City of Cape Town is unfortunately following a similar trajectory, lagging by about 10 days, and has now also been issued with a hotspot alert.
“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,” said Winde.
Authorities are also worried about the Cape Winelands where cases are rising, and the Overberg District, Central Karoo District and West Coast District are being closely monitored.
Hospitalisation in Western Cape is rising sharply
The Premier said hospitalisations have increased from 500 in September to 904, including a “staggering” 54 in the previous 24 hours. He said 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.
Premier Winde said saving all lives, including those who don’t have Covid-19 is vital – “we want to avoid at all costs having to once again de-escalate these essential services because this will have a detrimental impact on the health of our people.
“We also cannot afford a Lockdown again, as is being witnessed in many European countries right now. Our economy simply cannot afford it. A lockdown would kill jobs and cause our humanitarian disaster to worsen. This will also cost lives in the future.
“There is therefore only one option available to us all. We have to bring the situation under control through our own actions.”
The Premier says each person must do what they can to not get infected and not spread Covid-19.
To remain safe and protect each other from Covid-19, the Premier advised:
• Wearing a mask properly is of life-saving importance. You must wear your masks at all times when outside of your home. There can be no exceptions.
• You must avoid crowded and confined spaces at all costs. This is where super-spreader events take place.
• You must urgently reconsider hosting all non-essential gatherings of people this year, especially indoor gatherings with poor ventilation.
• You must ensure there is good ventilation at all times whenever you’re in public. The virus droplets spread by air in confined spaces, and so fresher is better.
• You must wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use sanitiser.
• If you feel sick, you should not leave your home unless it is to get healthcare treatment. You must first call our hotline on 080 928 4102 for guidance on the next steps.
• You should also not visit someone who is sick, and find other ways to provide support, like delivering a meal to a neighbour’s doorstep.
The Premier called on the people of his province to “show the world again that we are capable of flattening the curve in the Western Cape.”
He also urged members of the public, businesses and other organisations to report violations of Covid-19 protocols immediately so that the province’s teams can take action immediately.
– You can report violations using the online complaint form available here: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/covid-19-business-sa…
-Dial *134*234# to report non-compliance of public transport
-For Covid-19 health related queries, the provincial Covid-19 toll-free hotline number is 080 928 4102
-For general queries, the Western Cape Government’s contact centre can be reached on 0860 142 142