Covid-19: Western Cape is stabilising, hospitalisation plateauing - province

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Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town
Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town
Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp
  • The Covid-19 pandemic in the Western Cape has started to stabilise.
  • Hospitalisation plateaued at the end of June.
  • Premier Alan Winde believed their response to the pandemic was "world class".

The Covid-19 pandemic has started to stabilise in the Western Cape, with data showing that capacity has increased for critical care in hospitals.

Indicating that the province took a data-driven, evidence-led approach, Premier Alan Winde said they had studied the positivity rate of tests and the number of new deaths, hospitalisations and infected healthcare workers to work out trends.

"All indications (from this data) are that the pandemic has started to stabilise in the Western Cape, with a decline in some areas being experienced," he said.

He added that the pandemic had different paces in different areas.

"While this is good news, it does not mean that we can rest on our laurels. On the contrary, it means we must be even more vigilant. We must keep our curve moving in the right direction, in all areas – downwards.

"If we let our foot off the pedal now, and don't continue to change our behaviour, then we risk new flare-ups and an acceleration of cases in the future. We cannot allow this to happen," Winde said.

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Head of the Western Cape health department, Dr Keith Cloete, said oxygen use in hospitals peaked at around 30 tonnes per day towards the end of June and it has since declined.

"The big thing that we check against our planning scenarios was the assumption, and that was made public three weeks ago, that towards July we are going to have what we at the time called a longer, slower and extended peak, which was supposed to go from the end of June into the end of July and beginning of August," he said in a digital presentation.

"What we have seen in the real terms is that our hospitalisation had a plateauing from more or less the last week in June.

"The public sector critical care and private sector critical care has more capacity now over the last two, three weeks rather than going up."

Delivering his department's budget adjustment speech in the provincial legislature on Thursday, Winde said their response to the crisis had been "world class".

"This province took the lockdown very, very seriously and used the time afforded to us by the hard lockdown to prepare our system. We opened up the economy but in a safe manner," he said.

"We did not see a significant spike in infections when we did this."

With spare capacity in hospitals, Winde said they would be having further discussions on how long the province's field hospitals were still needed for.

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