The second wave of COVID-19 infections has hit the Western Cape hard and the province has now officially exceeded the number of confirmed cases it recorded in the first wave.

“The number of cases we have recorded in the province have now surpassed the number of cases we experienced during the first peak,” confirmed the provincial Head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete, speaking at Premier Alan Winde’s weekly digi-conference to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation.

“Our test positivity rates and our hospitalisations are also rapidly approaching the levels we saw during the first peak,” said Cloete.

The number of cases in the province experienced a surge during the last week (December 5 – 12), according to Cloete. The number of positive COVID-19 cases increased by 48%, while the number of hospital admissions increased by 25%.

As of Wednesday [December 16], the Western Cape has registered 26 817 active COVID-19 cases. To date, 128 750 of the province’s 160 800 cases have recovered.

Unfortunately, 5233 people have succumbed to the disease.

Update on the coronavirus
16 December 2020

As of 1pm on 16 December, the Western Cape has 26 817 active Covid-19…

Posted by Premier Alan Winde on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

In terms of hospitalisations, there are 2045 COVID patients receiving treatment across the province – 280 of these are at-risk patients in ICU or high care.

Hospitals are experiencing trauma and psychiatric pressures, according to Cloete, with Metro hospitals currently operating at an average occupancy rate of 78% and rural hospitals even more strained at 91%.

To keep up with the demand for hospital beds and manage the load during the first wave of infections, the provincial health department opened field hospitals in the metro – such as the Brackengate Hospital of Hope, while it added extra beds to existing facilities in rural areas.

The Brackengate facility continues to operate and currently has 253 of its 338 beds occupied.

“For the second wave, we will be taking this same approach in the metro region so that the investment into healthcare that we make now, remains in our own infrastructure and does not need to be closed down again at a later date,” said Alan Winde.

“Our health care workers have had a long year at the frontline, they are tired and they remain at high risk for contracting COVID-19 themselves. The best way we can protect them, is by protecting ourselves,” he said.

Winde called on citizens to heed all safety measures in order to reduce the risk of infections, including wearing a mask, washing hands and practising social distancing.

“This festive season, avoid large crowds, gatherings and places where there is close contact or overcrowding. I also call on everyone to use alcohol responsibly to reduce the burden of trauma on our hospital systems.”

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

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