Western Cape approaches third wave peak of infections

Active Covid-19 cases are rising in the City of Cape Town metro with government department leaders urging increased vigilance.

The City of Cape Town said that with the peak of the third wave expected within the next week or two, the City’s health department has called for increased adherence to health protocols. New infections have slowed and there has been a slight decrease in burials, it said.

Data, provided by the Medical Research Council, shows a potential levelling out of deaths, the City said. However, it shows an increase in excess deaths in the province, indicative of the number of deaths that are occurring above what is normally expected.

“The metro is seeing about 1,280 new cases a day – and while this figure has slowed, it’s not cause for us to drop our guard. It is disheartening that funeral protocol adherence continues to be problematic, with only a 72% adherence rate at funerals assessed by City Health in the past week,” said the City’s mayoral committee member for community services and health, councillor Zahid Badroodien.

“These events could become super spreaders if we’re not vigilant.”

During the past week there were 547 burials compared to 649 in the previous week, the City said.

“Even though this is a notable decrease of 102 burials, at the same time we are seeing a steady increase in the demand for cremations, having cremated 150 deceased in the past week,” Badroodien said.

The busiest cemeteries were Klip 154 (215 the previous week), Maitland 139 (on par with the previous week) and Welmoed 113 (an increase of 74).

The Western Cape is approaching its third wave peak of infections, with cases, hospitalisations and deaths still increasing, albeit at different rates, said Western Cape premier Alan Winde

“The progression of a wave of infections is that at first, the infections start to plateau, then it is followed by the hospital admissions, and only then the deaths.

“This has happened at different times in different places across the country, as we have seen in both the first and second waves, and requires heightened vigilance, especially at the peak when there is the highest number of infected people and greater pressure on our healthcare system.”

He said that while the Western Cape healthcare system remains under pressure as the province approaches the peak, it is currently coping with the demands. “We are closely monitoring our data and our bed usage through our centrally managed bed bureau system and will continue to provide updates.”

Vaccination progress

Registration and the administering of Covid-19 vaccines for the 35 – 49 age group is well underway, with the 18 – 34 age group expected to become eligible for registration from 1 September.

“Assist someone you know, who is eligible, to register for the vaccine. It is in everyone’s best interests to vaccinate as many eligible persons as possible,” said Badroodien.

The lowest registration rates for those over 60 are in the following areas:

  • Nomzamo: 9.8%
  • Phillipi: 11.36 %
  • Fisantekraal: 16.1%
  • Imizamo Yethu: 17.57 %
  • Crossroads: 21%

“We are concerned about the number of residents who aren’t registered and the City is doing what it can to ensure the process is as smooth and accessible as possible,” Badroodien said.

The measures in place to reach these residents include:

  • Pop-up vaccine sites in the Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha sub-districts, at SASSA pay points, community halls, farms and shopping centres. This is driven by Western Cape Government Health (WCGH) while City Health staff assist with vaccinations.
  • Same-day registration and vaccination of persons >60 at all City sites as well as provincial sites.

“If you do gather, keep it small (under 10 people), keep it short and take it outside. Until we can protect everyone, continue to social distance, wash your hands and wear a mask,” said Badroodien.

National cases

A total of 8,988 new cases were reported by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Tuesday. 45,312 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, representing a 19.8% positivity rate. A further 555 Covid related deaths were reported.

The majority of new cases on Tuesday were from Western Cape and Gauteng which accounted for (25%) each, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (19%).

There has been an increase of 636 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours, the NICD said.

The 7-day moving average daily number of cases has decreased, largely due to the number of active cases in Gauteng declining.

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Western Cape approaches third wave peak of infections