GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - The Garden Route is starting to see a stabilisation in the Covid-19 pandemic, and the beginning of a decline.
This is according to the head of the Western Cape Health Department, Dr Keith Cloete, who spoke during a digital conference last week, setting out the latest health data which confirm that the province continues to see a decline in hospitalisations, deaths and positivity rate of Covid-19, not only in the Metro, but also in some rural districts.
Cloete said the the pandemic matured later in the Garden Route district than the rest of the province. He gave the assurance that the necessary critical and acute care capacity is available in rural areas such as the Garden Route.
The positivity rate in the province is 15% (for every 100 tests done, 15 are positive). The daily deaths, admissions of confirmed Covid-19 cases and use of oxygen are also on a steady decline.
In the Cape Metro, acute hospitals are beginning to decrease their Covid bed capacity, because only 12% of the beds in these hospitals are filled with Covid-19 patients. Normal, comprehensive clinical non-Covid services are being re-introduced.
'Covid with us at all times'
Cloete said it is essential to impact on and continue to drive behaviour change in every local community through the hotspot strategy, until a full vaccine programme is in place. Conservatively estimated, a vaccine should be available for roll-out within 12 to 24 months.
"The behaviour change drive should continue to focus on the uptake of masks, social distancing and hand and surface hygiene, while we ask people to return to some form of normality. The normality is with the reality of Covid with us at all times."
He said the department will be vigilant to pick up any potential upswing in cases early enough to enable containment.
Testing criteria to be revised
Currently, the testing capacity is such that testing criteria can be changed from prioritising vulnerable groups to allowing testing others so that the department is better geared towards the early detection of a potential upsurge in cases. A decision on revised criteria should be made next week.
Diabetes sufferers must be tested early
Cloete urged diabetes sufferers to present early for Covid-19 testing when they develop symptoms. Through early intervention, the health department has been able to reduce the Covid mortality rate among diabetes patients from 27% to 4,5%.
In the past week, from Wednesday 19 August till Tuesday 25 August, 27 deaths were recorded in the Garden Route, bringing the total number to 277.
In George, six people passed away and the total deaths here stand at 90.
Western Cape Health district spokesperson Nadia Ferreira said 98 Covid-19 patients were in hospital as of 25 August, of whom 14 were in high care.
Of the 235 hospital staff members that have tested positive to date, three have died. Thirty-nine are still active cases.
GARDEN ROUTE CASES AS OF 25 AUGUST
- Total 8 600 cases (7 301 recoveries, 277 deaths)
- George 3 234 (2 863 recoveries, 90 deaths)
- Bitou 559 (490 recoveries, 21 deaths)
- Knysna 1 330 (1 176 recoveries, 41 deaths)
- Mossel Bay 2 050 (1 748 recoveries, 59 deaths)
- Hessequa 269 (210 recoveries, 15 deaths)
- Oudtshoorn 1 057 (724 recoveries, 50 deaths)
- Kannaland 101 (90 recoveries, 1 death)
WESTERN CAPE CASES AS OF 25 AUGUST
- Total confirmed cases 102 698 (93 920 recoveries, 3 761 deaths)
NATIONAL CASES AS OF 25 AUGUST
- Total confirmed cases 613 017 (520 381 recoveries, 13 308 deaths)
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