Early signs of the start of a fourth wave being seen in Western Cape, says Dr Cloete
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Cape Town - Covid-19 infections are rising fast once more, ahead of the predicted fourth wave, with low vaccination numbers causing concerns about the national health situation.
National Institute for Communicable Diseases statistics show that between Monday and Tuesday there were 2 273 new Covid-19 cases recorded over 24 hours across the country.
By Wednesday morning there had been an increase of 4 373. Of this number, 6% (or 262 cases) were recorded in the Western Cape.
Provincial head of health Dr Keith Cloete told the legislature’s ad-hoc committee on Covid-19 that early signs of the start of a fourth wave were being seen in the province in the context of the Omicron variant.
Giving a provincial overview, he said: “The province is seeing clear increases in the number of daily new cases, with on average more than 100 new diagnoses per day, and that the proportion positive has increased to an average of 5.1%.
Admissions are showing signs of a possible early increase with 10 admissions per day, but deaths remain low, with one death per day.
“Overall there is a 111% week-on-week increase in cases in the Metro, with most sub-districts starting to see increases, particularly the northern, southern and western one, including Klipfontein.”
Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said: “Our best defence against getting seriously ill from Covid-19 is being vaccinated. There is no evidence to support the idea that the vaccine is ineffective against the variant.
“We have the capacity to administer 40 000 vaccines per day, but require a massive, whole-of-society effort to generate increased targeted demand. So please, I ask that if you are more vulnerable, have co-morbidity or are over 50 years old, you absolutely do not delay and get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Mbombo said.
Meanwhile, committee chairperson Mireille Wenger (DA) has submitted a request for a debate of public importance to take place at the legislature on the development of the Covid-19 pandemic and the importance of vaccinations in the looming fourth wave.
“Our request is that it takes place next week. We, as legislators, have a duty to raise public awareness on the importance of staying safe and getting vaccinated.
“We must also hold our provincial government to account for the steps it is taking to prepare our health platform for the likely surge in infections,” Wenger said.
At the same time the City said it was bracing for post matric exam celebrations as most Grade 12 learners write their final examinations this week.
The City’s enforcement agencies have issued a statement in which they said they will increase patrols around the beach areas and the CBD, in Long Street in particular.
Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith said: “The disaster management regulations will be enforced too. In recent weeks, the City’s law enforcement has seen an increase in the number of persons fined for not wearing masks or disregarding the midnight curfew.
“Let us all play our part and avoid possible high risk areas. While no one wants to be a party pooper, we are duty-bound to act against any transgressions witnessed.
“We ask that matriculants who plan to celebrate should take all the necessary steps to ensure a safe environment. The past year has been a difficult one, compounded by the approaching Covid-19 fourth wave.”