In tackling the Covid-19 spread in the Western Cape, the provincial government often uses clusters and hotspots to label transmissions. Picture: City of Cape Town/Supplied
In tackling the Covid-19 spread in the Western Cape, the provincial government often uses clusters and hotspots to label transmissions. Picture: City of Cape Town/Supplied

What is the difference between a Covid-19 hotspot and a cluster?

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published May 24, 2020

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Cape Town - In tackling some of these Covid-19 transmissions in the Western Cape, the provincial government often labels areas and places as clusters and hotspots.

This uses of these labels are incorporated into the Whole-of-Government Targeted Hotspot plan that has been adopted by the province to flatten the curve and spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

Head of the Western Cape Health Department, Dr Keith Cloete explained the difference between the two in more detail.

A geographic area where people live, with many reported cases of Covid-19, are referred to as hotspot areas, for example, a suburb or ward with many reported cases. Cloete said clusters, however, are a group of related cases that are linked to a single workplace - like amongst employees at a specific supermarket. 

A cluster can also be defined as where the Covid-19 outbreak is believed to have originated, and Cloete said that the approach taken in cluster areas is to implement very strict guidelines to prevent further spread of the virus.

“These include guidelines for the strict observance of prevention practices (social distancing, hand and surface hygiene and universal cloth mask-wearing) daily screening, testing of symptomatic persons, isolation and quarantine of close contacts, and guidelines on closure and cleaning of the workplace, when cases are reported,” said Cloete.

He added: “Our approach is to launch a Whole-of-Government and a Whole-of-Society approach to prevent further transmission of the virus, focused on behaviour change (social distancing, hand and surface hygiene and universal cloth mask-wearing) especially in local areas of gathering, as well as screening to identify and protect vulnerable people (the elderly and people with comorbidities).”

Premier Alan Winde in his presentation to the President’s Coordinating Council, argued why the province should move to level 3 of the lockdown, read the full presentation here.

Cape Argus

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