GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - Health care facilities are currently taking strain with the rise in Covid-19 infections, alcohol-related trauma cases and road accidents. In addition, there is an increase in infections in health care workers, which results in fewer reporting for duty.
An increase in active cases in all districts represents an established second wave in the Western Cape.
These are some of the main concerns raised during Western Cape Premier Allan Winde’s weekly digital conference earlier this afternoon.
“Staffing capability in hospitals and other health care centres is under pressure. Health care workers’ infections are a major concern, particularly in George,” said Winde.
With tomorrow, 16 December, the first public holiday of the festive season, Winde asked everyone to keep to their side of the bargain and stay safe on the roads, heed the regulations and stay away from confined spaces.
“We advocated very much for the opening of the beaches,” said Winde. The matter was discussed in cabinet today and Winde said after following some more discussions over the course of the next 36 hours, he will make a submission for the opening of beaches in hotspots such as the Garden Route.
He said the blunt closure of beaches at the hotspots is “not the solution”, but the public need to apply common sense, wherever they are. “We have to make sure we are not a spreader of Covid-19. It is not about how law enforcement is going to manage everyone’s lives, it is about the people using common sense.”
Asked whether people must wear a mask when going to the beach (in other parts of the Western Cape), Winde said, “Yes, but of course you can’t wear a mask when you swim. When you are walking past someone, put your mask on. We are protecting each other.”
Alcohol and road blocks
Winde said there will be road blocks during the festive season and cautioned people to enjoy themselves, but keep it safe. “This is a deal. Make sure that you keep to your side of the bargain. Stay safe on our roads. Do not consume alcohol and drive.”
Increase is slowing down
Dr Keith Cloete, head of the Western Cape Health Department, presented a five-point containment strategy and statistics which indicated that things are slowly but surely looking up for the Garden Route.
Although the Garden Route represents the second largest number of active cases outside the Cape Town metro, the increase in Covid-19 cases is starting to stabilise.
“In the last seven days, compared to the previous seven days, there has been fewer active cases. It is early days; any super spreader can change the situation,” said Cloete.
In the Garden Route, twice as many people were admitted to hospital during the second peak than during the first peak in June/July.
Cloete said the big challenges remain the impact of alcohol-related trauma, especially in the emergency centres and in critical care, as well as the increasing Covid-19 infection rate among health care workers and the impact it has on staff member isolation.
See screenshots from Winde's digicon below.
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