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Western Cape on standby for third wave with beds and oxygen at the ready

People aged 60 and older wait to be vaccinated at Brackenfell Community Hall where mayor Dan Plato and Mayco member for Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien visited recently. Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

People aged 60 and older wait to be vaccinated at Brackenfell Community Hall where mayor Dan Plato and Mayco member for Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien visited recently. Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 24, 2021

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Cape Town - Western Cape is standing by with enough beds, oxygen and staff in readiness for those in need of intermediate care, high care or ICU when the third wave of Covid-19 arrives in the next few weeks, says Premier Alan Winde.

As of 1pm yesterday, the Western Cape provincial health dashboard had recorded 3 356 active Covid-19 infections across the province and 11 748 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Altogether, 291 551 people have been infected since the beginning of the pandemic and 276 544 have recovered.

Last week, provincial head of health Dr Keith Cloete said the province was in a Covid-19 resurgence because it had seen increases in case numbers every day over the past 12 days, and that although this was not yet a third wave it was the first sign of moving towards one.

Yesterday, Winde said: “We must make sure we have enough beds, staff and oxygen to respond effectively in the month ahead. We currently have sufficient bed capacity to respond to the resurgence and will create capacity where needed.”

Winde said the Afrox Western Cape plant had undertaken to increase its provisions of oxygen to respond to the demand and the provincial department of health would continue to monitor how much oxygen was used in the coming weeks.

The department said: “In the Western Cape, the combined public-private utilisation of oxygen is currently at 31.84 tons per day, or 45.49% of the production capacity.

“Seventy tons are available per day from the Afrox Western Cape plant, which we believe is sufficient to respond at a third wave peak.”

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By last Thursday evening, 99 799 people had been vaccinated. Of these, 93 153 were health workers who received their jabs as part of the Sisonke trial in Phase 1a of the rollout.

During Phase 1b and Phase 2 of the rollout 6 646 people had been vaccinated in the Western Cape by the end of last week.

The number of vaccination sites across the province was to increase to 53 as of today but officials said there would be more to come.

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The health department said the increase was part of the provincial government’s scale-up approach, in which it would bring more sites online regularly as it significantly increased the number of vaccinations administered daily.

“Our health department will bring 23 more public vaccination sites online, bringing the number of public vaccination sites to 42.

“The private sector will have 11 sites operational as of Monday, with Mediclinic bringing online four additional sites.

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“Our plan is to eventually scale up to 70 sites in the Metro, and 184 sites in districts outside the City.”

Meanwhile, people older than 60 have been assured that if they have missed their appointment for the vaccination, all unredeemed vouchers will remain open on the database.

Dr Cloete said: “The system will then generate a second appointment date, venue and time. If you unfortunately miss this appointment, the system will generate a third invitation. Should you miss your third appointment, the system will close your registration and you will need to contact 0800 029 999.

“Those residents who have registered and are still waiting for their second SMS, please do not worry. We expect most people who have registered to start getting their SMS in one to two weeks. We urge residents to take up their invitation to be vaccinated the first time they receive their invitation SMS.”

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Cape Argus

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