Spike in Covid-19 cases in the Western Cape as the province reports vaccine supply shortages

South Africa reported 17,351 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday (29 July), which represents a 24.4% positivity rate. The Western Cape saw a spike in new infections as the province reports that it does not have sufficient vaccine numbers to meet current demand.

The country recorded 520 new Covid-19-related deaths, taking the official death toll to 70,908.

The majority of new cases today (Wednesday) are from Gauteng (30%), followed by Western Cape (27%), the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said.

KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 11%; Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 7%; Limpopo accounted for 6%; Eastern Cape accounted for 5%; Free State accounted for 4%; and Northern Cape accounted for 2% of new cases.

Gauteng recorded 5,204 new cases on Wednesday, while the Western Cape saw 4,667 new infections, and KwaZulu-Natal 1,975.

For the Western Cape, this tally was up from 1,580 cases in the province on Tuesday, and 1,192 cases on Monday, although fewer tests were conducted over these days.

71,061 tests were conducted on Wednesday, against 36,721 and 23,349 tests at the start of the week.

Demand exceeding vaccine supplies

Western Cape premier Alan Winde said in a statement on Wednesday that the province did not receive the number of vaccines needed this week to meet the significant demand that exists in the province.

“The fact that there is such enthusiasm to get vaccinated is great news, but we understand it is also very frustrating when it is not possible to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

“The fact that the demand is far outstripping our current supplies means that we are experiencing pressures at some of our sites. We please ask for your patience and understanding.

“As a province, we must ensure that there are adequate supplies for the second doses of those residents who received their vaccine 6 weeks ago, while also keeping the appointments of those residents who have been scheduled. We therefore encourage you to wait for your appointment, especially during this time that pressure is being experienced in the system.

“We will continue to engage the national government with the aim of getting more vaccine supplies so that we can match the notable demand that exists for vaccinations in the Western Cape.”

The Department of Health said that 7,065,432 vaccine doses have been administered – 194,891 over the last 24-hour reporting cycle.

The Western Cape reached a million vaccinations on Monday. The province said it has increased its capacity and ability to administer 30,000 vaccinations per day, translating to 150,000 a week.

“But, we cannot do this alone, we need all eligible persons to take up vaccination and help us get to population immunity.”

According to the Western Cape, about 200 public vaccination sites are open daily to assist members of the public, while the department also activated 10 sites on Saturday, which saw 2,000 people receiving the jab.

Healthcare workers

To date, almost 70% of healthcare workers have been vaccinated and the province said it continues to see the positive impact it has on the workforce.

At the height of the first wave between May and July, the Western Cape said it had 4,525 infected health workers infected and 3,633 during the second wave.

However, during the current wave, the Western Cape only had 679 healthcare workers who fell ill with Covid-19, of which 501 were active cases as of 22 July.

“This does go to show the protection the vaccine offers,” the provincial government said.


Read: Fourth Covid wave in South Africa – what health experts are saying

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Spike in Covid-19 cases in the Western Cape as the province reports vaccine supply shortages