Western Cape Premier Alan Winde. Photo: FB / Premier Alan Winde

New COVID-19 cases have grown by 53.4% in the Western Cape in the past seven days, according to Premier Alan Winde; and as trauma cases and Covid-19 cases ‘collide’ hospitals are fast filling up.

On top of that, trauma admissions increased by 36.2% in November, said Winde. “When this is combined with a 400% increase in COVID-19 admissions over the same period, the system starts to come under extreme pressure.”

Winde said trauma cases remain related to the abuse of alcohol and are caused primarily by inter-personal violence and motor vehicle accidents. The major growth in trauma cases at acute care facilities is a common trend for this time of year, said the WC Premier.

“We must be under no illusion that our hospitals are under extreme pressure right now and our health workers are battling,” stressed Winde.

The Western Cape province currently has 18 296 active coronavirus cases, while 1 641 patients have been hospitalised with 287 of these in ICU or high care. Winde said the number of health workers being infected is also increasing and is currently at 312 active cases.

“The City of Cape Town has shown a sharp increase in cases and continues on an upward trend,” Winde said.

South Africa itself is experiencing a second wave, according to Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, who added that South Africa is “grappling” with a sharp increase of over 8,000 new Covid-19 cases recorded in the past 24 hours.

There was some good news. Winde said: “Fortunately, the Western Cape Department runs its health platform as a single system, where the total number of beds in places like the metro is looked at in its entirety. This means that while we are near capacity in some areas, we still have beds available in the overall system.”

Garden Route may have reached peak

Meanwhile, Winde said there are signs that the Garden Route may have reached its peak.

“However, as we know from our resurgence, the situation can change again if super-spreader events continue to take place.”

He said that Garden Route hospitals remain under severe pressure, this as hospitals are under extreme pressure, as the growing number of trauma and COVID-19 cases “collide”.

Cape Town metro and rural hospitals

Winde said metro hospitals are running at an average occupancy rate of 81%, while rural hospitals are running at an average of 84%.

“People with confirmed COVID-19 and people under investigation for COVID-19 make up 10% of hospital admissions in the metro and 13% of hospital admissions in the rural areas, and they continue to increase.”

In addition, the Brackengate Hospital of Hope currently has 179 patients, while Sonstraal has five, and the Freesia COVID-19 dedicated ward has 31.

Winde asked Western Cape residents to join the #DecemberChallenge – “This weekend, remember to stay safe & avoid crowded places. If you are meeting friends, keep it small, outside and spacious #StaySafeMoveForward.”

Sources: Premier Alan Winde, SA News.gov.za