Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has implored people to remain mindful that they can contract Covid-19 simply by touching a contaminated surface. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has implored people to remain mindful that they can contract Covid-19 simply by touching a contaminated surface. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Lapses in behavioural change drive Covid-19 infection rate, says Western Cape health boss

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Jun 4, 2020

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Cape Town – Covid-19 continues to spread rapidly because of lapses in vigilance in applying all sanitary precautions, head of the health department in the Western Cape said on Thursday.

Keith Cloete says it has been found that healthcare staff, for example, comply fully with all precautions when tending to a coronavirus patient, but drop their guard in the hospital tea room with colleagues.

The virus would not be infecting large numbers of people still if all people at all times took the precautions of hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing, he said.

"Actually our areas of transmission is probably lowest where there is that one-on-one exposure to somebody who is positive," Cloete said.

"When they go to the tea room, they take the mask off, they share a cup, share a surface and a lot of infections actually was in that unguarded moment.

"A societal change is a very complex one, we should grow into this," he said.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has implored people to remain mindful they can contract Covid-19 simply by touching a contaminated surface.

"It is about understanding that just touching that door knob can put you at risk."

Cloete and Winde said since the sale of alcohol resumed on Monday, there had been an increase in alcohol-related medical emergencies at Groote Schuur and all other hospitals throughout the Cape Town metropolitan region and called for restraint to keep hospital beds free for Covid-19 patients.

They were addressing a media briefing on the health care response to the pandemic in the Western Cape. The province had 24 564 confirmed cases by midday on Monday and this accounted for almost two-thirds of all infections recorded nationwide.

The province was negotiating an agreement with private hospitals to take in public healthcare patients and was looking at hospital groups that had facilities throughout a large of the province as possible to ensure additional beds in hot spots outside Cape Town.

Winde said there was clear evidence the Western Cape's targeted interventions in so-called hot spots was succeeding. It was evidenced by the Ceres, where infections had been driven back to the level at which they were two to three weeks ago.

He said the strategy would now be implemented throughout the Cape Town metropolitan region and be taken as a template for the healthcare response in the whole province.

African News Agency (ANA)

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