Long lines at Karl Bremer Hospital in Bellville where the elderly are being vaccinated. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Long lines at Karl Bremer Hospital in Bellville where the elderly are being vaccinated. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

'Third Covid-19 wave in Western Cape may be two to three weeks away’

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published May 21, 2021

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Cape Town - The Western Cape government expects the province to experience a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the next couple of weeks.

The province’s head of health, Dr Keith Cloete, said the provincial dashboard’s resurgence monitor has shown a sustained increase in the number of new cases for 12 consecutive days, which means the province remains in a resurgent state.

“We have not yet met the criteria for being in a third wave, but could enter it in two to three weeks if the current trajectory continues.

“For now, we continue to see a very concerning increase in the number of cases, and urge everyone to adhere to protective behaviours as a key drive to contain a third wave.”

He said the SA Covid-19 Modelling Consortium had predicted a third wave in the Western Cape that would be smaller than the second wave, but many uncertainties remained, including the possible emergence of different variants of Covid-19.

According to the provincial department of health, preparations for the third wave were in full swing, but behaviour change could delay the onset and reduce the size of the wave until more people were vaccinated.

The public can help to flatten the curve by consistently adhering to social distancing, avoiding all non-essential gatherings, working remotely where possible and avoiding non-essential travel, particularly to provinces or areas with increasing case numbers.

According to the provincial Covid-19 dashboard, as of 1pm yesterday, the Western Cape had 3 163 active infections and 290 962 infected people.

There have been five deaths since Wednesday, bringing the number of Covid-19-related deaths in the province to 11 734.

On the challenges in registering over-60s in the province, Winde said one of the biggest problems has been connectivity, as many lacked smartphones, data and access to computers, which restricted their ability to get on the list.

“Our initial registration data is also showing that in some areas poorer communities have extremely low vaccination registration numbers.

“I am therefore making a public call today for you to help register someone in your family or community who is 60 years and older. It is quick and easy, and will possibly help save their lives.

“That is our big challenge in the province, because once we get everybody who is 60 and older registered and vaccinated, then we can move on to those aged 50, and so on down the list.”

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said: “Our approach in the first week of the mass vaccination programme is to first start with a smaller group of eligible residents at a smaller number of vaccination sites, to test the system, and to ensure a smooth process going forward.

“This approach has already started to take shape, bringing online 10 additional sites on Tuesday, resulting in 18 sites now operational in the Western Cape during this first week.”

She said once the system was fully operational, it should average 26 000 vaccinations a day.

Meanwhile, the province has announced that private vaccination sites have begun to come online.

The Clicks pharmacy group announced it has sites at its outlets in Constantia, Tygervalley, West Coast Village, Blue Route, Paarl Mall, Vredendal Mall and Edgemead.

From Monday next week, Mediclinic will have sites at Cape Gate, Milnerton, Geneva Hospital and Vergelegen Hospital.

According to a statement by the province: “These sites operate like all others in terms of scheduling. You must be registered on the national EVDS system, and you must be invited to the site, like all others.”

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