GARDEN ROUTE | KAROO | HESSEQUA NEWS - The Garden Route has recorded five Covid-19 deaths up until Tuesday 2 June - two in George, one in Mossel Bay, one in Stilbaai and one in Knysna.
The latest death was on Saturday when a patient passed away in the Mediclinic George.
Garden Route Disaster Manager Gerhard Otto has warned residents to not lower their guard against Covid-19 because of the easing of lockdown.
"The risk of being infected and the level of lockdown have absolutely nothing in common. People may misinterpret the lower level as linked to the lowering of the threat of infection, but this is completely and utterly wrong," he said.
"To the contrary, people are now more at risk than ever as they return to work in greater numbers and move around more freely. With increased human contact and interaction I predict a steep rise in the rate of infection. On the positive side, this is the only way to ensure the formation of herd immunity."
He asked people, especially the elderly and people with other health problems, to stay at home as far as possible. "Please do not lower your guard. Be extremely careful. Wash your hands, wear your masks, keep your distance and do not expose yourself to people unless it is unavoidable."
He said the situation in the various towns and municipalities of the Garden Route District is reassessed every day. "We have 700 beds available at the Petro SA isolation facility and at the moment it is housing only two people. At least five backup facilities have been identified in each of the municipalities that will be opened should the need arise. In total, these provide an extra 2 000 beds. A hotspot may appear anywhere in the district and each town's and municipality's unique needs will be addressed should place-specific action be required."
Protect the vulnerable
The Western Cape Department of Health has also urged residents to do their part in protecting the vulnerable members of society from becoming infected during Level 3.
To date the province has recorded 521 deaths. "Our data reviewed on 26 May (403 deaths at the time) showed that the overwhelming majority of Covid-19 positive people who have died in the province have had one or more comorbidity."
Comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional diseases or conditions occurring with a primary medical condition.
According to the department the most prevalent comorbidities in deaths due to Covid-19 across all age groups were diabetes and hypertension.
People with existing comorbidities are more at risk of being severely ill if they contract Covid-19.
Beaches closed, but angling permitted
George Herald reported last week that the draft regulations on Level 3 lockdown allowed exercise on beaches, but in accordance with the final regulations beaches must remain closed.
However, according to a directive issued by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, recreational fishermen are allowed to fish, but must be in possession of a valid permit and all the regulations regarding social distancing, movement and health protocols apply. The directive also permits hunting and self-drive visits to private or public game reserves and national parks. Minister Barbara Creecy said on Monday that all fishing, including recreational fishing, is permitted with the exception of charter fishing.
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