The Western Cape’s coronavirus hotspots are now spreading outside Cape Town

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has outlined the province’s ‘targeted hotspot strategy’ as coronavirus cases continue to climb in the region.

Winde said that community transmission of Covid-19 had become entrenched with the virus spreading faster in certain geographic areas, mainly in the City of Cape Town and the Witzenberg region.

“This was a new phase that we had entered, where the number of infections would climb at a faster rate, pushing our curve up towards a peak.

“This is precisely what will continue to happen in the weeks ahead, and which will happen around the country, a few weeks after us.”

Using risk projections for the general population in the Western Cape-based on available data, Winde said that those who are older (over 55), and those who have one or more comorbidities are at highest risk.

“This is where we must focus our attention in the weeks ahead,” he said. “Of those that die, 96% have an underlying health condition such as HIV, diabetes, hypertension and tuberculosis.

“We need to protect these people, and those of more advanced age, in the weeks ahead as the virus spreads and we move up the curve, towards the peak.”

Below he provided a more detailed breakdown of the status of cases in the Cape Metro and the Winelands Districts.


Cape Metro 

  • Winde said that the Cape Metro is on the ‘upward part of the curve’ and is expecting to see case numbers increase more rapidly, with associated increases in hospitalisation and deaths;
  • He said that transmission has been concentrated around essential services clusters, care homes and in geographical areas where people who work in these clusters live and this has mostly been in the poorest communities in Cape Town;
  • Testing/ lab capacity is under severe strain. The National Health Laboratory, which is mandated to perform all public tests, simply doesn’t have the capacity to test enough, and return tests quickly enough, for us to intervene with speed as these numbers grow;
  • Winde said the provincial government is scaling up isolation and quarantine off-site, but this will reach its limit soon as the number of infections rise in line with the ascending curve;
  • The number of undetected cases will continue to grow unless major increases in testing capacity is provided.

Other areas

  • The Cape Winelands District is showing evidence of multiple clusters and fast spread, which started in Witzenberg three weeks ago, and has moved into Drakenstein, Stellenbosch and Breede Valley, in the past two weeks;
  • Early clusters have emerged in Overberg (Theewaterskloof and Swellendam), and the West Coast (Swartland), during this past week, while there are still many areas with no cases or sporadic cases only;
  • Testing/ lab capacity strain is impacting on the ability of these rural areas to detect cases early and move to aggressive isolation and quarantine interventions;
  • Ability to isolate and quarantine off-site will be scaled up rapidly across the rural areas;
  • These areas are projected to have a smaller number of undetected cases, and aggressive testing is still indicated;
  • There is still great value of individual case detection and contact tracing.

Moving to level 3 

Despite the increase in cases, Winde said that Western Cape plans to move down to level 3 lockdown restrictions alongside the rest of the country in June.

While he noted that the province cannot return to “business as usual”, it also cannot look at a response in isolation of the economic devastation and subsequent humanitarian crisis that is already developing.

“Even if we lift restrictions now, over 200,000 jobs are going to be lost in the Western Cape alone,” he said.

“If we stay on alert level 4, it will be even greater as more and more businesses close and people become unemployed. This will indirectly impact millions of people across our province.

“We have no choice but to allow more economic activity over time, in a safe and responsible manner, so that people don’t starve. If we do not do this, lives will be lost in the future.

“This does not have to be a zero-sum game. We can care for sick people now and intervene rigorously in areas to slow the spread and save lives, while still allowing for the economy to open over-time so that people can feed themselves and their families.”


Hotspots

As at 20 May, the Western Cape had recorded 11,072 confirmed cases, with a total of 5,967 active cases reported across the province.

A total of 100,721 tests have been conducted, with 470 patients currently in high-care facilities and 143 in ICU.  211 people have passed away.

The number of cases in the Cape Metro is as follows:

  • Tygerberg – 1,781 case and 907 recoveries
  • Khayelitsha – 1,505 cases and 728 recoveries
  • Klipfontein – 1,280 cases and 592 recoveries
  • Western suburbs– 1,167 cases and 621 recoveries
  • Southern suburbs – 1,157 cases and 444 recoveries
  • Mitchells Plain – 1,095 cases and 504 recoveries
  • Eastern suburbs – 998 cases and 527 recoveries
  • Northern suburbs – 680 cases and 326 recoveries

The cases in non-metro districts is as follows:

  • Cape Winelands Witzenberg – 211 cases and 171 recoveries
  • Cape Winelands Drakenstein – 163 cases and 58 recoveries
  • Cape Winelands Stellenbosch – 77 cases and 29 recoveries
  • Cape Winelands Breede Valley – 58 cases and 36 recoveries
  • West Coast Swartland – 30 cases and 14 recoveries
  • Garden Route Mossel Bay – 29 cases and 19 recoveries
  • Garden Route George – 29 cases and 17 recoveries
  • Garden Route Knysna – 25 cases and 17 recoveries
  • Overberg Overstrand – 22 cases and 16 recoveries
  • West Coast Saldanha Bay Municipality – 21 cases and 5 recoveries
  • Overberg Theewaterskloof – 18 cases and 6 recoveries
  • West Coast Bergrivier – 17 cases and 1 recovery
  • Garden Route Bitou – 10 cases and 6 recoveries
  • Garden Route Hessequa – 8 cases and 7 recoveries
  • Overberg Swellendam – 8 cases and 3 recoveries
  • Cape Winelands Langeberg – 6 cases and 4 recoveries
  • Garden Route Oudtshoorn – 6 cases and 3 recoveries
  • Overberg Cape Agulhas – 2 cases and 2 recoveries
  • Garden Route Kannaland – 1 case and 0 recoveries

Read: 18,003 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths rise to 339

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The Western Cape’s coronavirus hotspots are now spreading outside Cape Town