Western Cape Covid-19 spike driven by social gatherings, health officials say

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Dr Keith Cloete is head of health in the Western Cape province.
Dr Keith Cloete is head of health in the Western Cape province.
Brenton Geach, Gallo Images
  • A Western Cape third wave can still be delayed, health officials have said.
  • The province is currently experiencing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.
  • Health authorities claim the resurgence is being driven by social gatherings.

While the Western Cape is facing a resurgence of cases, the province may still be able to hold off a third wave if public behaviour drastically changes.

The increase in cases have been linked to social gatherings, said provincial health department head Dr Keith Cloete, during Premier Alan Winde's weekly Covid-19 digi-conference on Thursday.

The Western Cape is currently teetering between the second and third wave, Cloete said.

"We have officially gone into a resurgence. It's not quite the start of the third wave, but it's the early sign that we are going into a third wave," he said.

However, the department anticipated that the third wave would not be as severe as the second, Cloete added.

"This is dependent on the strength of our behaviour over the coming weeks," he said. "We require a concerted whole of government and whole of society response to flatten the third wave."

Vaccines

The number of daily new Covid-19 cases has grown, with around 170 new cases reported per day.

The province had recorded a 39% increase week-on-week, said Cloete.

"We have seen a very concerning increase in the number of cases and now meet the resurgence criteria. Behaviour change is key to mitigate the third wave. We can delay the onset or reduce the size of the third wave until more people are vaccinated.

"The province is preparing to begin rolling out vaccines to over-60s from Monday.

Cloete said the Cape Town metro had experienced an increase in Covid-19 cases in most sub-districts, with a particular upswing in the eastern, western and northern districts. He added that cases had primarily been reported in the private sector.

The Cape Winelands, Garden Route and West Coast have also recorded increased cases, predominantly in the private sector.

He said the department had noted the increase in cases were concentrated in more affluent suburbs. He added that some cases had been traced back to parties and social gatherings, with an increased number of gatherings at social clubs, such as at golf and bowling clubs, being reported.

"We've seen a pattern that the increase in cases are related to more relaxed behaviours," he said.

Winde said: "The resurgence could be start of third wave. It’s a race against time now. We need to get people vaccinated while managing this curve."

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