GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - In the Garden Route 39 people have died of Covid-19 between Wednesday 28 July and Wednesday 5 August, bringing the total number of Covid-19 deaths in the district to 168.
Six deaths were recorded in George during this time.
The total number of Covid-19 deaths in the town now stands at 62.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said in a media statement this week that the rising number of infections and hospitalisations in the district is increasing pressure on its hospitals, specifically in the demand for high care and ICU treatment.
However, the Western Cape Government will be ensuring that the Covid-19 peak in the Garden Route is handled in the same way as the peak in the Cape Town Metro, where there have been early signs of a decline in infections, hospitalisations and deaths.
Lessons learned in the Metro will be applied in the Garden Route.
Additional resources will be allocated to the region's hospitals, including more staff and equipment to administer high-flow nasal oxygen. Oudtshoorn and Knysna hospitals have already received equipment and it is in use.
The district can expect a visit from two provincial ministers.
A four-day visit by provincial Health Minister Nomafrench Mbombo next week will include oversight visits and community engagements across the district.
Transport and Public Works Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela will be in the district over the coming long weekend to conduct roadblocks in George, Bitou and Knysna and check that long distance taxis are complying with the 70% loading regulations.
He will also visit provincial transport and health facilities in George and Knysna.
As reported by George Herald last week, interventions in hotspot areas such as Pacaltsdorp and Thembalethu are continuing through increased awareness creation and sanitising of public and high-traffic areas.
Home visits are made by environmental health practitioners (EHPs) to check if people who have tested positive are self-isolating. EHPs are also attending Covid-19 funerals to ensure protocols are being adhered to.
They will focus on reinforcing training of funeral undertakers to ensure that the correct procedures are followed.
Winde appealed to all residents of the Garden Route to continue to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones.
On Thursday last week, national Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced the opening of leisure travel within provincial borders, which means that accommodation establishments can welcome visitors for other purposes than business. Tour operators are also allowed to conduct guided tours in open safari vehicles, subject to provision for social distancing and maximum ventilation.
The curfew was moved from 21:00 to 22:00, a step welcomed by the Restaurants Association of South Africa (Rasa).
There are also no limits on the number of patrons, provided social distancing regulations are followed. Rasa chairperson Wendy Alberts said it was disappointing that the alcohol ban stays in place.
"We will, however, continue to engage with Nedlac and the Department of Trade and Industry on the issue."
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi extended the Temporary Employer / Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) until 15 August, providing another month of some relief to businesses and employees in financial dire straits.
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