Experts say it’s unlikely that we’ll avert a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections
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Cape Town - As the province struggles to contain the third wave, experts are already talking of a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections before the year ends.
South African Medical Research Council’s Professor Ameena Goga said: “At the current rate of vaccinations, it’s unlikely that we will avert the fourth wave. Vaccinations will need to be ramped up.”
Western Cape head of health Dr Keith Cloete said: “There is a very real risk of a fourth wave.
“The biggest mitigation will be to get as many people vaccinated prior to a fourth wave. We have a window of four months to get everyone over 18 years of age to register, and present themselves at the multiple vaccination points to be vaccinated.”
Cloete said the province had scaled up its phase two vaccination capacity to administer vaccines over the past 10 weeks and had the capacity to scale up rapidly, as they received more vaccines.
He also said that hospitals across the province had sufficient capacity to cope with the current pressures.
By 5pm on Monday, August 9, the province had administered just over 1.3 million vaccines to health-care workers, staff in the education sector, and those within eligible age brackets.
Premier Alan Winde said: “Our health care platform shows us that, in the Western Cape, there has been a slight increase in cases over the last week, with 3 149 new cases each day, based on the seven-day moving average.
“There are 41 525 active cases and there have, sadly, been 16 139 cumulative deaths. Hospital admissions are at about 336 new admissions daily and there are 106 deaths per day on average.”
However, he said that the new cases are beginning to slow and the rate of new admissions is also slowing, pointing to a plateau at the peak.
By 1pm yesterday, the Western Cape had 41 525 active Covid-19 infections, with a total number of 433 077 Covid-19 cases to date, and 375 413 recoveries.
On Friday, in the run up to the long weekend, the provincial dashboard reflected 15 843 deaths. By Tuesday, this number had risen to 16 139.
In an effort to stem the rising cases, the City’s Athlone Stadium mass vaccination site is expected to go live from Monday next week.
After a tour of the facility, mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos confirmed that the walk-through site will be open to the public on August 16, while the drive-through facility will go live two weeks later.
“The site will have 40 stations at the walk-through facility and five lanes at the drive-through and, once fully operational, will be able to administer up to 7 000 vaccine shots a day.
“My department, in partnership with others at the City and the Western Cape Government, have worked together to make sure that aspects – such as connectivity, vaccine storage, social distancing protocols, furniture, sanitisation facilities, fire and evacuation detail, and more – are ready for action,” said Vos.
Vos said the site would be handed over to the province, which has the mandate for overall coordination of the operational phase.
Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien said while the number of vaccinated persons continues to grow, there remains room for improvement.
The number of individuals registered in the Cape Metro is nearing 850 000, which represents about 43% of those eligible for registration and vaccination. In the population older than 60 years of age, 36% have been vaccinated.
“Of the eight health sub-districts, the three with the lowest rates of registration are Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Klipfontein sub-districts. Individual areas, with very low registration rates, include Delft, Philippi, Crossroads, Nomzamo, and Fisantekraal.
“There are multiple reasons why these areas have such low registration rates, including vaccine hesitancy.
Badroodien said the public health service was continuing education and awareness initiatives.