Cape Town - The Western Cape Health Department has warned that people should remember that Covid-19 is here to stay, just like polio or tuberculosis.
Although hospital intake was only at 2%, people must prepare for the fifth wave, whether minimal impact or not.
The latest figures from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, (NICD) reported 4 146 new cases of Covid-19 with an 18.35 positivity rate, as well as four deaths during a 24- and 48-hour period.
The department confirmed that it had administered 5 338 948 vaccines, with more than two and a half million people receiving full doses, while three million have had their first dose.
A total of 450 000 people have received their booster, along with 61 500 health workers.
Departmental spokesperson Mark van der Heever cautioned people about the fifth wave.
He said there was currently a 2% intake at hospitals.
“Our key triggers are based on admissions and oxygen use, which are both well below where they were during previous waves. Covid and PUI cases currently make up only 2% of all available acute general hospital capacity in both metro and rural regional hospital drainage areas.
“Covid-19 will not go away any time soon, so to eventually defeat it we must eradicate it. The same as with polio, same as with TB, we must continuously work against these viruses. While we are expecting a fifth wave this winter, but it’s impossible to predict how severe it will be.”
Van der Heever once again reiterated that the vaccine was a form of protection against the unknown.
“Vaccination and natural immunity are protective – but the big unknown is a new variant and whether it will cause severe disease. To add further protection, more than 450 000 people have taken up the opportunity to receive their booster dose, along with 61 500 health-care workers.
“(A total of) 9 858 people living with immuno compromised conditions have received their additional dose,” Van der Heever added.
He said despite there no longer being a State of Disaster, they noted that many experienced long Covid symptoms which included fatigue and cough for months afterwards.
“While we are expecting a fifth wave this winter, it’s impossible to predict how severe it will be,” he said. “Vaccination and natural immunity are protective but the big unknown is a new variant and whether it will cause severe disease.”
Dr Gineile Mopp, of the Covid-19 ICU at the George Hospital, said the war against the invisible enemy had not yet been won.
“As with any war we want to overcome, we need well trained and equipped defence forces. This pandemic will require our immunological defence forces to be at full strength. Let’s teach, train and support our immune systems to conquer this pandemic the best way we know how. Get vaccinated.”