WESTERN CAPE NEWS - The Western Cape records on average more than 60 Covid-19 deaths per day as the peak of the pandemic in the province is approaching. The peak has been predicted for the end of June, going into July.
In an online briefing last week Thursday, 25 June, Premier Alan Winde said the initial scenario planning indicated that the province would peak during this period, but they continue to check their data against their predictive model and also have outside organisations reviewing the model, including the Actuarial Society of South Africa, the national modelling group and the province's own team of experts.
Peak could last 3, 4 weeks
He said the peak could last for longer than two weeks - "maybe three or four weeks".
"We will continue to measure the data. It is not a perfect science and the makeup of our citizens would be different so we can't measure exactly the same as, say, another country that we would be measuring against."
He said most of the province is prepared for the peak and they are adjusting preparations according to expectation. "Some of our testing and triage facilities in rural areas are not in place, knowing that those rural areas might reach their peak later than perhaps the city or the hotspots we are working in at the moment."
The health response is monitored continually to ensure that it is coping on each front - from testing, hospital beds and quarantine and isolation facilities, to personal protective equipment, continuing engagement with the public as well as mass fatalities.
"I sincerely hope that in the next few weeks we will see some of the numbers declining, and then we have to apply our minds to the next stage, which is what we are seeing in other parts of the world - getting a second wave, or is it going to be a longer peak or shorter peak.
That is all going to come through the continual work with our data and our teams, questioning ourselves and measuring ourselves on a continuous basis and making sure that we don't get blasé, that as we open up more economy and schooling, we at the same time continually observe the rules of masks, social distancing, etc. It is about the health response, but also the citizens' response to make sure we flatten the curve."
The province is getting extra laboratories, in the private sector and at universities, on line to increase testing capacity. They hope soon to be able to move beyond testing only front line staff and patients, to opening up testing for those with comorbidities and the elderly.
"This gives much better accuracy in managing the pandemic."
Oxygen and beds
Dr Saadiq Kariem, chief of operations at the Health Department, said oxygen suppliers in the country have confirmed that they will have adequate supply during the peak of the pandemic. The department has 153 high-flow nasal oxygen units, and will bring more on line if needed.
Kariem said additional hospital beds in field hospitals, including the CITCC (Cape Town International Convention Centre), have relieved the pressure on their acute hospitals and occupancy is still manageable.
District spokesperson for Western Cape Health, Nadia Ferreira, confirmed the Garden Route and Central Karoo will receive the necessary high-flow oxygen equipment to provide in the demand. "Talks with the private sector regarding extra bed capacity are taking place on a provincial level and are at an advanced stage. We hope to reach an agreement soon."
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