Concern over spike in Covid-19 infections in affluent Cape metro areas
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Cape Town – With Health Minister Zweli Mkhize expressing concern over a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections, Premier Alan Winde has also cautioned Western Cape residents that there has been a 5% increase in positive tests.
Winde said yesterday this increase is largely seen in the private sector among residents in more affluent suburbs in the Northern, Eastern, Western and possibly Southern (until a few days ago) areas in the Cape Metro.
Mkhize warned last night of rising infections in the Free State, Gauteng, the Northern Cape and North West.
’’As with all four variants of concern, our scientists are closely monitoring variant B.1.617 (the dominant variant in India), and the Department of Health will respond appropriately to contain it. At this stage, the variant has not been found in South Africa,’’ Winde said.
Commenting on when the third wave is likely to strike, public health expert Dr Muzzammil Ismail, from the University of Cape Town, explained at a press conference on Thursday how the data reveals what is happening.
“The way to interpret the data is as follows: We look at the number of cases over seven days. We then count the same for the previous week or two, and then compare the percent change over those weeks. If there is a more than 10% increase, we regard it as an ‘alert’. If it goes over 20%, we say it is a resurgence,” Ismail said.
“We are watching for wave three – we have not yet reached it, but some alerts are registering in terms of the proportion of positive cases, and that is why we are watching very carefully.”
The Western Cape recorded seven additional deaths on Thursday, bringing the total number of Covid-19 related deaths in the province to 11 637.
Currently, there are 760 Covid-19 patients in acute hospitals (425 in public hospitals and 335 in private hospitals). The Metro hospitals have an average occupancy rate of 92%; George drainage area hospitals are at 65%; Paarl drainage area hospitals at 70%; and Worcester drainage area hospitals at 76%.
Covid-19 and persons under investigation cases currently make up only 5% of all available acute general hospital capacity in both Metro and rural regional hospital drainage areas.
Regarding Covid-19 intermediate care, Winde said the Brackengate Hospital of Hope currently has 14 patients (3 345 cumulative patients); Freesia and Ward 99 has no patients; Mitchell Plain Hospital of Hope has no patients; and Sonstraal has one patient.
Overall, case numbers in rural areas are essentially unchanged. Most districts are still showing a decrease in cases, except for the Garden Route and a small increase in absolute numbers in the Central Karoo.