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Hygiene basics vital to curbing Covid-19 spread and diarrhoea season, says CoCT

City of Cape Town has punted the necessity for residents to follow hygiene basics - like mask wearing and handwashing - to not only curb the spread of Covid-19 but also surge season. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

City of Cape Town has punted the necessity for residents to follow hygiene basics - like mask wearing and handwashing - to not only curb the spread of Covid-19 but also surge season. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 8, 2021

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Cape Town - City of Cape Town has punted the necessity for residents to follow hygiene basics - like mask wearing and hand washing - to not only curb the spread of Covid-19 but also surge season.

The City’s Environmental Health Service is promoting non-pharmaceutical interventions like mask wearing, and hand washing to fight Covid-19 and the expected increase in diarrhoeal disease, which is prevalent during the warmer months.

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This is apart from highlighting vaccination, which remains key to limiting the impact of a fourth wave of Covid-19.

While The City of Cape Town’s Health Department is focused on promoting interventions to curb the spread of Covid-19, its staff is also are expanding the net to mitigate the potential risks of an increase in diarrhoeal disease - which is prevalent between November and May.

Children under five are particularly susceptible to diarrhoea, the City added.

Mayco Member for Community Services and Health, Patricia van der Ross said: “As we deal with a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in the metropole, our Environmental Health Practitioners continue to note an increase in non-adherence to the wearing of masks and sanitising in communities.

“While much remains unknown about the new Omicron variant, it does appear to be more transmissible, and so our appeal to the public is to go back to basics to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“And, if we are washing or sanitising our hands regularly, we are also reducing the risk of spreading germs that can cause diarrhoeal disease,” Van der Ross said.

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“Young children are at risk of severe illness and even death from diarrhoea, and these simple actions can literally save lives.

“It is the end of the year and people want to let their hair down, but we need to do so responsibly, for everyone’s benefit,” said Van der Ross.

The Western Cape Health Department had previously shared that during the Incidents of Diarrhoea Disease (DD) season of 2017/ 2018 (November 2017 to May 2018), over 1 million children under the age of 5 were treated at Primary Healthcare Facilities (PHC), of which 29 260 were diagnosed with diarrhoea.

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The areas most affected during paediatric surge season are those with poor infrastructure and lack of access to clean water and good sanitation.

Covid-19 Overview

  • There has been a 700% increase in case loads in the metropole in the past week, with an average of 500 new confirmed cases per day
  • Currently, the number of active cases is nearing 5 000, although, at the moment, hospital admissions and fatalities remain low
  • The Western and Southern Health sub-districts have the highest number of infections
  • The epidemiological profile of the Omicron variant has not been fully established, so caution remains key
  • In the Western Cape, 44% of the adult population is fully vaccinated
  • At least 51% of those over 18 have had at least one vaccine dose
  • The Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha sub-districts continue to have the lowest rates of vaccine registration
  • From an Environmental Health perspective, 98.5% of establishments inspected in the past week were compliant with Covid-19 protocols
  • The wearing of masks in outside public areas and lack of social distancing, as well as non-adherence with mask protocols in taxis are concerns

“We are not out of the woods. All indications are that the Western Cape will enter a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections soon. It’s imperative that those who have not yet been vaccinated, do so urgently,” added Van der Ross.

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“Vaccinations are proven to reduce severe illness. We thank those individuals who participated in the most recent Vooma vaccination weekend.

“City staff administered more than 2 000 doses, more than half of which were in Khayelitsha. Every vaccine administered is a step forward in the fight against this pandemic,” added Van der Ross.

Cape Argus

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