Covid-19: Western Cape out of the woods for now, but vigilance still required

Covid-19 deaths in single figures for last eight days, says head of health

Masks, social distancing, ventilation and hand washing remain vital despite the drop in numbers, says the Western Cape health department. Stock photo.
Masks, social distancing, ventilation and hand washing remain vital despite the drop in numbers, says the Western Cape health department. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF.COM

The Western Cape has navigated its way out of the second Covid-19 wave, with the province now hitting a “stable low” on the graph that shows the dip between waves.

Head of the health department in the province Dr Keith Cloete, addressing a virtual media briefing on Thursday, said there were 756 patients in acute hospitals in the province, with Covid-19 and PUI (people under investigation) cases making up just 5% of all available acute hospital capacity.

“All the markers show a steady decline,” he said, citing oxygen use, hospitalisation, cases and deaths — all of which “have seen a continued drop over this period”.

In the last eight days, Covid-19 deaths have been in the single digits.

“This is good news, we are hitting a very stable low base between waves in the province,” he said.

New cases have plateaued at 140 per day on average over the last week, and there has been an 8% decrease in deaths.

Now, there are only 16 active cases among health workers and this month has seen two deaths.

“We like to think it’s thanks to the vaccine,” said Cloete, adding that three key lessons for streamlining the vaccine programme are careful scheduling of appointments and monitoring of adverse events, buy-in from the population and highly efficient logistics.

As of Wednesday, 52,202 health workers in the province had received their jabs.

The provincial government will be aiming for 36,000 jabs a day, Cloete said, adding that the first band of those in the second phase to receive vaccinations would be everyone over 60 regardless of occupation or comorbidities.

However, he said the imminent rollout should not deter people from following prevention protocols.

“Our current situation is that we have navigated our exit from the second wave well and we now stay in a heightened vigilance phase, still adopting habits to protect ourselves,” he said.

Hand washing, ventilation, masks and social distancing remain paramount.

“We saw this could be done even over the busy Easter weekend and we want to continue for at least the next eight weeks to delay the third wave as we prepare to scale up and implement the vaccine programme.”

TimesLIVE


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