Increase in Covid-19 cases not a 'resurgence', province on 'full alert and responding' - Winde

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Alan Winde.
Alan Winde.
Jaco Marais
  • Western Cape Premier Alan Winde is "very concerned" about the "relaxed behaviours" in the province.
  • It may have led to an increase in Covid-19 cases.  
  • Winde said the provincial government continues to track cases "closely".

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says he is concerned about an increase in Covid-19 cases in the province in the last week, but stressed that it cannot be classified as a resurgence.

This follows Health Minister Zweli Mkhize's comments on Wednesday when he said a "significant spike in new cases" in the province met the definition of a resurgence, according to their resurgence plan.

Winde noted Mkhize's statement, in which he said some provinces were seeing increases in infections, with a specific mention of the Western Cape. 

"We are indeed very concerned about the relaxed behaviours, which we have seen, which may have led to this increase in cases and we are not the only province experiencing this as reflected in the national data."

Winde said the provincial government's seven day "rolling average" of new cases had indicated 1 757 new cases recorded in the week to 19 October versus 1 546 the previous week.

READ | Tin Roof party: Covid-19 cases up to 73, two hospitalised

"This represents an increase of 13.65% in new cases in the seven-day period," he said.

He added:

The Department of Health's own definition of a resurgence is an increase of more than 20% in new cases over a seven-day period. The Western Cape has not recorded such an increase in the past seven days.

"With that said, any increase is a worry for us, and it has our government on full alert and responding."

Mkhize said he could not "help but be concerned" after reading and analysing South Africa's epidemiological reports.

He said the government's instruction to remain cautious during Level 1 lockdown was serious.

He also said similar trends witnessed a few months ago eventually led to "a burden on our health system".

"I wish to bring to the attention of all South Africans that our epidemiological reports are showing that, in the country, over the last seven days, there has been an increase of 9.1% in new cases. Similarly, over the last 14 days, there has been an increase of 10.7%."

Mkhize said there were also concerning increases in some of the provinces.

In the past seven days, there was a "marked increase in the number of new cases in the Western Cape", he said. 

He added: 

The province recorded a 42% increase in new infections. According to our resurgence plan, we define this significant spike in new cases in the Western Cape as a resurgence. The Western Cape provincial health department has identified specific clusters that are responsible for the increase in cases, and has advised that each of these clusters has been investigated and a detailed outbreak response is being mounted.

He also noted that the single biggest cluster outbreak was identified in the southern sub-district in the Cape metro.

"This has been associated with a super-spreader event in a bar. We await further reports from the Western Cape health response teams, who are now required to target the sub-districts with a high increase of new cases over the last two weeks."

News24 previously reported that a number of Covid-19 cases, linked to Cape Town's Tin Roof bar, has since increased to more than 80.

They were traced after an event at the bar in Claremont was found to be the common thread in a new cluster of cases.  

Winde said it was through their surveillance efforts that they had been able to identify and manage clusters.

He added that many of the initial cases linked to the cluster have now recovered and the rate of new infections in the area was starting to decline. 

"There is currently a lot of variability of the caseload week on week, and so we will have a much clearer picture of what is happening in the coming weeks."

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