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'Western Cape has passed second wave peak and active Covid-19 cases are declining'

Premier Alan Winde has said the Western Cape’s second wave peak of Covid-19 infections has ended and that active cases in the province are on the decline. Photo: WCG

Premier Alan Winde has said the Western Cape’s second wave peak of Covid-19 infections has ended and that active cases in the province are on the decline. Photo: WCG

Published Jan 20, 2021

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PREMIER Alan Winde has said the Western Cape’s second wave peak of Covid-19 infections has passed and that active cases in the province are on the decline.

There has been a 19% drop in cases in the metro and a 18% decline in Covid-19 cases in rural areas.

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This comes as the province is shifting its focus to the economy and seeks to have some restrictions lifted.

Winde said the Western Cape’s surge has ended and new cases, oxygen usage, healthcare worker infections and positive test cases were declining.

“It has now been 21 days since that announcement was made and we have to reconsider our position based on the data and evidence available to us.

“In doing so, we need to ask ourselves: is the balance in saving both lives and livelihoods being achieved currently? The answer to this question is no,” Winde said.

“Key job creating sectors of our economy are buckling and shedding jobs at a time when we have passed our second wave peak and our platform is successfully responding to the pandemic.”

He said the Western Cape’s health platform response demonstrated this point as shown by the drop in the number of metro and rural cases.

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“Oxygen usage at our facilities has also started to flatten and decline.

“Our test positivity rate has been on a sustained decline for more than two weeks. This is a clear and robust measure that demonstrates that we are leaving our peak,” Winde said.

“Our reproductive number for infection is now below 1. This is another measure that demonstrates a decline and the surge of hospitalisations has ended. There is stabilisation.

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“We continue to have capacity to respond and no person has been denied treatment at our facilities over this time.”

Winde said that while the Western Cape health system was under pressure, there were enough beds and oxygen to respond during the second wave.

He said the Western Cape has brought online capacity to ensure care for every person who needs it.

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“All 200 beds at the Mitchells Plain Hospital of Hope field hospital have been commissioned. Not all of these beds have been used.

“Of the 136 additional beds that could have been brought online should more be needed, we have only needed to bring 20 beds online because of the hospital stabilisation,” Winde said.

“Our additional supply of oxygen has meant that all our facilities have adequate oxygen and one of the five tankers have been returned.

“We have sufficient PPE supplies for healthcare workers and other front-line staff,” he said.

“We have now made offers to 529 healthcare workers to increase capacity… 81 have started already.”

“The evidence and data are clear that the Western Cape has passed its peak, and while there is pressure, we have adequate capacity and resources to provide care to every person who needs it,” Winde said.

Cape Argus

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