NATIONAL NEWS - Western Cape health authorities on Thursday warned Covid-19 related hospital admissions were starting to rise rapidly, with an average of 76 new admissions recorded a day.
In its weekly Covid-19 briefing, the provincial government also said the number of Covid-19 cases were continuing to increase with an average of 766 new diagnoses a day.
“Our admissions now are increasing to the tune of 76 to 80 new admissions per day. Deaths are starting to increase and we are seeing around 13 deaths every day. We have now truly have entered the third wave in the Western Cape overall,” said Dr Keith Cloete, the head of the provincial health department.
The week on week increases in hospital admissions due to Covid-19 now exceed 10%.
There are now 1,021 patients admitted to hospitals with the virus, a 47% increase since mid-May.
Cloete said in the last four weeks, the province had seen a total of 9,072 trauma cases at 17 of its emergency centres, which were beginning to have an impact on healthcare facilities.
He said most of the trauma cases were largely preventable, with about 40 to 45% of the cases occurring at weekends with some spillover to Mondays.
“As our hospital capacity increases, which is only 7% in public sector hospitals and more beds are needed for Covid-19 cases, it starts competing with everything else we want to bring down,” Cloete said.
“Trauma is the most difficult one to bring down because we can’t turn the tape of trauma easily and that’s the competing thing that will play itself out over the next three, four, five and six weeks as more people are admitted to hospitals.”
According to Cloete, all provincial sub-districts are seeing a marked increase in new Covid-19 cases with most of them diagnosed in the private sector.
The number of public sector cases is also rising, especially in Mitchells Plain, Klipfontein, Tygerberg and Khayelitsha.
“We have truly entered an accelerated phase everywhere in the province in terms of the increase in cases,” Cloete said.
There are now 9,309 active coronavirus cases in the Western Cape, 3,507 more active cases (+60%) in the past week alone.
Cloete said the government’s decision this week to place the country on level 3 lockdown would assist in reducing the number of new cases in the province.
He cited gatherings as an example. “That is probably the most sensitive tool we have to curb the transmission but it actually depends on everyone working together to do that,” Cloete said.
All gatherings have been limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
This includes religious services, political events and social gatherings, as well as restaurants, bars, taverns and similar places.
Attendance at funerals and cremations may not exceed 50 people.
Cloete said the province was now focusing on vulnerable groups with comorbidities as cases continue to surge.
“The people over the age of 60 and comorbidities our attention starts shifting to them because now we have to safeguard them and prevent deaths.”
On a national level, South Africa recorded yet another massive spike in Covid-19 infections on Wednesday with 13,246 new cases confirmed, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
This represents a 21.7% positivity rate nationally.
“These concerning figures represent the highest number of daily cases and positivity rate recorded since January 2021,” the NICD said.
New related deaths stood at 136 people, bringing the country’s total death toll to 58,223.