GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - The Garden Route District has seen an increase of over 700% in the number of Covid-19 cases since 14 May, when there were only 75 cases.
This is according to the district's disaster manager, Gerhard Otto, who warned in an interview with EDENfm on Tuesday that the region is only now starting to see the coronavirus pandemic emerge.
As of Wednesday 24 June the total cases in the district stood at 754, with the biggest number of infections having been reported in the previous seven days. George alone reported 147 new cases during this period.
Western Cape Health district spokesperson Nadia Ferreira said 14 confirmed Covid-19 patients were in hospital in the district as of 23 June and a further 17 suspected hospitalised cases were waiting for test results. George Hospital had eight patients of whom three were in ICU (the only in ICU in the district). A total of 27 staff in the public and private sector have to date tested positive for the coronavirus.
44% of ICU admissions have died
Otto stressed the seriousness of the situation saying the death rate among those hospitalised for Covid-19 in the Western Cape is 18%. Out of those admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU), 44% had succumbed to the disease.
"It is really a threat that we need to manage going forward and people must start taking the Covid regulations seriously. Although we had to open up the economy, it doesn't mean we must throw all caution to the wind."
Otto said people who don't self-isolate are one of their biggest concerns as these people spread the virus.
Knysna's infection rate is the highest with 151 cases per 100 000 of the population. George is second with 139 and Mossel Bay third with 108 infections per 100 000. The average for the Garden Route is 97 per 100 000, so the region has not yet caught up with the Western Cape which has 700 infections per 100 000.
"We are about a month behind what the Western Cape, is experiencing, but we are moving in that direction."
The Garden Route has been classified as a hotspot and MEC Tertuis Simmers and Human Settlements Head of Department Jacqui Sampson have been assigned to the district to oversee the management of the pandemic.
Part of the command centre's strategy is to record all positive cases on an interactive map that enables them to identify clusters in the district where infection is high. Screening, awareness campaigns and door-to-door visits are increased in those areas.
Otto appealed to the public to adhere to social distancing and the required hygiene measures. "We want to postpone getting the virus as long as possible because the longer time we have, the better the health measures can be and the better your chances of survival can be."
In the past week the National Health Department welcomed the publication of the preliminary results of the Recovery Trial, based at Oxford University, which found that dexamethasone, a widely used steriod with potent anti-inflammatory properties, reduced mortality of Covid-19 patients on ventilators by one third. For patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth.
Summary of cases: Western Cape 24 June
Total confirmed cases - 54 835
Total recoveries - 37 234
Total deaths - 1 565
Total number of tests - 274 649
Garden Route: 754 (324 recoveries)
George (138 recoveries) - 388
Bitou (17 recoveries) - 41
Knysna (81 recoveries) - 128
Mossel Bay (49 recoveries) - 130
Hessequa (17 recoveries) - 19
Oudtshoorn (19 recoveries) - 45
Kannaland (3 recoveries) - 3
Sub-districts Cape Town Metro:
Total cases - 42 292
Recoveries - 31 439
Cape Winelands - 5 283 (3 243 recoveries)
Overberg - 893 (461 recoveries)
West Coast - 1 225 (698 recoveries)
NATIONAL (AS OF 24 JUNE)
Total confirmed cases - 111 796
Deaths - 2 205
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