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Western Cape officially in the fourth wave with an average of 1600 Covid-19 infections per day

Premier Alan Winde and MEC for Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo doing a demonstration of Covid-19 test. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Premier Alan Winde and MEC for Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo doing a demonstration of Covid-19 test. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 13, 2021

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Cape Town - The Western Cape has officially entered the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, in terms of the technical definition provided by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Premier Alan Winde made the announcement on Monday, where he said that according to the definition by the NICD, the province would be in the fourth wave when the number of new Covid-19 cases reaches 30% of the peak of the previous wave, based on a 7-day moving average.

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This would be approximately 1 100 new cases daily, and the current 7-day moving average of new daily cases has increased to approximately 1600 cases per day and is expected to rise further.

“As set out in our Covid-19 healthcare platform and vaccination programme update last week, the Western Cape is not yet seeing the same rapid increases in hospitalisations and deaths as previous waves, although it is still too early to tell if this trend will continue over the next few weeks.

“As of 3pm Sunday, the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations across private and public hospitals were at 439, with a total of 45 persons admitted to ICU and high care,” Winde said.

The Western Cape Department of Health is closely monitoring the data and will provide more information as soon as possible.

Winde added: “While it is always scary to hear we are facing another wave of Covid-19 cases, we must remain calm and turn our anxiety into action.

“We can do this by following four steps: vaccinate as soon as possible because vaccinations prevent severe illness. Ensure you wear your mask because the virus spreads in the air. Also, ensure good ventilation with lots of fresh air, and if you are meeting others, do it outside. This is much easier in our summer months,” he said.

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“Together with the golden rules of good hygiene, including staying home when you feel sick, we can slow the spread and save lives and jobs in the Western Cape.”

Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo said: “The Western Cape has adopted a six-point action plan to ensure that we can respond to this Fourth Wave.

“Using data and lessons from previous waves, we will use a trigger response to bring online the resources needed to care for every person who needs treatment. But we need to protect our healthcare system, especially so we do not have to de-escalate other life-saving services,” Mbombo said.

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“The best way to do this is to vaccinate because vaccinations prevent severe illness. It will keep you out of the hospital and out of ICU. Please act now, so that you get through this wave safely.”

Through the six-point plan, the provincial government aims to:

  • Change community behaviour to prevent infection through sustainable and affordable interventions based on current evidence.
  • Ensure ongoing surveillance, particularly with hospitalisations. While the province will be vigilant of the growth of cases, they said that their primary focus would be on health service pressure.
  • Support and maintain the mass vaccination campaign.
  • Triage the healthcare platform to ensure the capacity needed to respond is available. This will be done through pre-determined triggers that will enable the province to bring field hospitals and other capacity online when it is needed.
  • Maintain comprehensive health service, with a particular focus on mitigating the impact that de-escalation may have on chronic disease care.
  • Safeguard the well-being of healthcare workers through vaccination as well as healing and mental health programmes.

Winde concluded that the difference in this wave compared to others is that the vaccine is available in the fight against Covid-19 infections.

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“The risk is simply too great to not get vaccinated now. If you haven’t had a chance to, please go as soon as possible. It is quick and easy and should not take you more than 30 minutes.

“If you still have questions on the vaccine itself, please chat to a doctor and get the answers to the questions you may have. The time to act is now.”

Cape Argus

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