WESTERN CAPE NEWS - As we move into the festive season, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde is urging residents and visitors to do everything within their ability to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This includes washing hands regularly, maintaining a safe social distance and wearing masks correctly – over the mouth and nose.
"Furthermore, while we enjoy the festive season, let’s do so responsibly and avoid the 3 Cs which include: confined or enclosed spaces, crowded spaces and close contact," says Winde.
"Keep family gatherings to a minimum by only having a few family members over and host all events outdoors."
The premier added: "We have received reports that some residents are still not following the advice and regulations set out to protect them and others. Please, follow the advice we are giving to mitigate the strain on our healthcare system and on our health workers, and more so, to save any potential loss of life or severe illness of a loved one. Our hospitals are becoming full, and we must all take heed of our personal responsibility to care for our fellow citizens and frontline workers by doing everything we can to not spread COVID-19."
Temporary service delivery changes in Western Cape Government facilities
"We know that you want to visit your loved ones in hospital, but to limit any potential risk of possible transmission of COVID-19 to them, we must continue to restrict in-hospital visitations. This is in line with the principles of social distancing to limit interaction and, in doing so, slow and stop the spread of COVID-19.
"At this stage, visitors to public health facilities will not be allowed. Health facilities in the Western Cape are still subject to strict adherence to health protocols. If you have any questions about visitation restrictions, please call the hospital in question to enquire. We understand that it is difficult to not visit your loved ones but ask for your understanding and cooperation. Together, we can limit the spread of COVID-19.
"No person will be allowed inside Western Cape Government Health facilities without wearing a suitable mask covering their nose and mouth.
"When accessing any of our facilities, you can expect to be asked questions before being permitted entry. This is to ensure that no visitor matching the case definition of COVID-19 or displaying flu-like symptoms enters the facility. Please answer truthfully and help us to keep our staff and other patients safe.
"With the increase in hospitalisations due to the second wave of COVID-19, the Western Cape Government’s Hospitals must change how we provide healthcare services to ensure we have capacity to take care of patients who need immediate care."
Changes in the current service delivery offering include:
- Visitation is restricted;
- Non-urgent outpatient appointments will be postponed, and patients given alternative dates;
- Non-urgent elective surgery will be postponed, and patients provided with a later date;
- Patients who are in hospital but are stable will be discharged for further management at home or at a step-down facility;
- Outreaches from District and Regional hospitals will be suspended; and
- Patients are urged to only access the Emergency Centre for emergencies. Non-emergencies to access healthcare services at nearest clinic.
Emergency services that will continue:
- Emergency surgery;
- Obstetric surgery;
- High risk obstetric clinic;
- Fracture clinic;
- Limited eyecare and eye surgery; and
- Allied health for emergency cases.
Amended services at clinics:
- Medication delivery to stable chronic patients will continue;
- Medication will be given for longer periods where possible;
- Outreaches will be postponed;
- Non-urgent appointments will be postponed and given an alternative date;
- Essential services will continue, such as TB and HIV screening and treatment, chronic care, family planning, immunisations, and antenatal and postnatal care;
- Dental services limited to emergencies only;
- Eyecare services limited to emergencies only; and
- MOU’s (midwife obstetric units) will continue to operate.
New variant of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in South Africa
"A new strain of COVID-19 has recently been identified by South African genomics scientists from the Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP). The variant was first identified in Nelson Mandela Bay but has rapidly spread through the rest of the Eastern Cape and to the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.
"Presently, there is no clear evidence of the new variant being associated with more severe disease. Further, the national Department of Health have advised that the new variant in South Africa is not the same variant affecting London. However, there are similarities as both share the same change in the spike protein.
"There is some evidence that the new variant might be transmitted more easily than other variants, although this requires further study. Officials from the National Department of Health, along with scientists, are studying it more closely.
"Residents should be advised that the symptoms are unlikely to differ. Patients will likely present with the same spectrum of symptoms as the previous variant.
" There is no indication yet as to its origin.
"At present, community transmission remains the most considerable threat in terms of the transmission of Covid-19. That is why we all need to be cautious in our behavior, so as not to spread the virus."
The Western Cape has recorded an additional 59 deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 5552.
As of 13:00 on 21 December, the province has 34 694 active COVID-19 infections with a total of 174 813 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 134 567 recoveries.
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