GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - The average number of active Covid-19 infections in the Garden Route district has shown a sudden decline during the past week, perhaps an early indication that the district is at its peak of the pandemic.
The number of active cases as of Tuesday 11 August stands at 1 524, the same as it was about a month ago, according to the district's disaster management chief, Gerhard Otto, who is cautiously optimistic about the latest figures. On Wednesday 12 August the active cases dropped further to 1 419.
The number of active cases in George dropped from 512 on 10 August to 472 on 11 August to 442 on 12 August.
Otto said they are, however, concerned about Oudtshoorn and Kannaland where there is still an upward trend.
In a report he submitted to the provincial cabinet this week (based on figures as of 5 August), he writes that there is an average of 283 active cases per 100 000 in the district, compared with 299 the previous week.
He told George Herald that it is not a case of doing fewer tests. "We are still testing and screening at the same frequency. The Department of Health is also now switching over to seroprevalence testing, a method which picks up antibodies in the blood and will also show up those persons who have been infected with the coronavirus, but have had no symptoms. These people have gone undetected with the existing testing method."
Otto said residents should not become complacent because of the slight overall downward trend, but must keep up mask wearing, social distancing and hygiene measures. "The virus has killed 213 people in our district as of 12 August and it is going to be in our midst for many more months while we wait for a vaccine."
After the Central Karoo District, the Garden Route still has the highest increase in positive cases in the rural areas of the province. "The sub-districts continue to feel the pressure of the additional workload and the situation will be monitored carefully as to the ability of the teams to manage it. George in particular is struggling to keep up with tracing."
Otto said chronic disease management still needs to be strengthened. The vast majority of Covid-19 deaths were people with comorbidities.
The isolation facility at PetroSA is adequate to handle isolation and quarantine cases and had an occupancy of 42,67% (as of 5 August).
45 more deaths
From Tuesday 4 August till Wednesday 12 August, 45 more Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in the Garden Route which brings the total deaths in the district to 213.
Western Cape Health Department district spokesperson Nadia Ferreira said the approach to active Covid-19 case finding within the rural areas remains that of community testing and screening, with a focus on people older than 55 years and those with high risk (people with comorbidities).
"The department has identified the next 100 days as crucial to refocusing the health system and health services while still managing the pandemic with continued interventions to increase immunisation coverage, TB treatment and ART for HIV uptake."
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