There is an established COVID-19 resurgence in the Western Cape, primarily driven by the Garden Route and Cape metro. Hospitals in the Garden Route are now under strain as infections continue to rise.

According to Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, the provincial health government is also concerned about the Cape Winelands, which is starting to record a concerning number of new cases.

The Overberg District, Central Karoo District and West Coast District are being closely monitored given their proximity to these hotspots.

“Last week, we issued a hotspot alert for the Garden Route, following an alarming growth of cases in the area. This surge has continued to gain momentum and there are now more active cases in George and Knysna sub-districts than at any point in the pandemic to date,” said Winde.

“My biggest concern is for our health platform, which is under growing pressure. We need to ensure that every person gets healthcare when they need it.”

Speaking to News24, spokesperson for the department in the Southern Cape, Nadia Ferreira said:”Public Hospitals in the Garden Route are under severe pressure, especially George Regional and Knysna Hospitals. They do, however, still have capacity for emergencies. We ask that all patients with non-threatening conditions access healthcare services at their nearest clinic.”

According to News24, private hospital group Life Healthcare have cancelled unnecessary elective surgeries in Knysna and Mossel Bay to focus on patients who will need intensive care. They have also seconded extra staff in Knysna.

On November 25, the Western Cape government announced that the Garden Route experienced a 117% increase in new COVID-19 cases and 96% increase in deaths over the last seven days, and urged residents to remain cautious and vigilant.

“After recording 1 282 new cases and 25 new deaths over the past seven days, all areas in the Garden Route are of great concern. As we have seen during the first wave of infections, once community transmission is established within communities, especially in the Garden Route as a prime tourist destination, the situation can quickly deteriorate if not brought under control soon,” reads a statement from the Western Cape government.

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