Coronavirus – South Africa: Western Cape Government on Fourth Wave of Coronavirus COVID-19 infections
“The Western Cape has officially entered the Fourth Wave of COVID-19 infections. Stay safe by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, and ensuring good ventilation.”
The Western Cape has officially entered the Fourth Wave of COVID-19 infections, in terms of the technical definition provided by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).
Using this definition, we will be in the Fourth Wave when the number of new COVID-19 cases reaches 30% of the peak of the previous wave, based on a 7-day moving average. This would be approximately 1 100 new cases, daily.
The current 7-day moving average of new daily cases increased to approximately 1600 cases per day and is expected to increase.
As set out in our COVID-19 healthcare platform and vaccination programme update last week, the Western Cape is not yet seeing the same rapid increases in hospitalisations and deaths as previous waves, although it is still too early to tell if this trend will continue over the next few weeks.
As of 3 pm Sunday, the number of COVID-19 hospitalisations across private and public hospitals were at 439, with a total of 45 persons admitted to ICU and high care.
The Western Cape Department of Health is closely monitoring the data and will provide more information as soon as possible.
Premier Alan Winde said: “While it is always scary to hear we are facing another wave of COVID-19 cases, we must remain calm and turn our anxiety into action. We can do this by following four steps: vaccinate as soon as possible, because vaccinations prevent severe illness. Ensure you wear your mask, because the virus spreads in the air. Also, ensure good ventilation with lots of fresh air, and if you are meeting others, do it outside. This is much easier in our summer months. Together with the golden rules of good hygiene, including staying home when you feel sick, we can slow the spread and save lives and jobs in the Western Cape.”
Provincial Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo said: “The Western Cape has adopted a 6-point action plan to ensure that we can respond to this Fourth Wave. Using data and lessons from previous waves, we will use a trigger response to bring online the resources needed to care for every person who needs treatment. But we need to protect our healthcare system, especially so we do not have to deescalate other life-saving services. The best way to do this is to vaccinate because vaccinations prevent severe illness. It will keep you out of the hospital and out of ICU. Please act now, so that you get through this wave safely.”
Through the 6-point plan, the Western Cape Government aims to:
- Change community behaviour to prevent infection, through sustainable and affordable interventions based on current evidence.
- Ensure ongoing surveillance, particularly with hospitalisations. While we will be vigilant of the growth of cases, our primary focus will be on health service pressure so that we save lives.
- Support and maintain our mass vaccination campaign because it remains the most important intervention that we must protect our health system.
- Triage our healthcare platform to ensure we have the capacity needed to respond. This will be done through pre-determined triggers, that will enable us to bring field hospitals and other capacity online when it is needed.
- Maintain comprehensive health service, with a particular focus on mitigating the impact that de-escalation may have on chronic disease care.
- Safeguard the well-being of healthcare workers, through vaccination as well as healing and mental health programmes.
Premier Alan Winde concluded: “What is different in this wave is that we have the vaccine as a weapon in the fight. Let’s use it. The risk is simply too great to not get vaccinated now. If you haven’t had a chance to, please go as soon as possible. It is quick and easy and should not take you more than 30 minutes. If you still have questions on the vaccine itself, please chat to a doctor and get the answers to the questions you may have. The time to act is now.”
To view the COVID-19 public-facing dashboard, click here: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/covid-19-dashboard
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.