The number of people who have died after contracting Covid-19 in the Western Cape reached 437 by 1pm on Friday.
This, after another 34 deaths were recorded, according to the province’s statistics. There was also an increase of 1,064 positive cases in the last 24 hours.
This figure may change later on Friday when the national Department of Health releases its own results, which is recorded at a different reporting time in the day.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said 887 people were in hospital, with 188 either in intensive or high care.
This is already around one tenth of the number of hospital beds the province’s health authorities are expecting to need, approximately 7 800 beds.
The province is expected to move into the peak Covid-19 period either at the end of June or beginning of July.
Studies have shown that around 90% of people who contract the virus globally have manageable symptoms, but others do not recover as easily. For those people, it is a lengthy and difficult recovery period.
“The Western Cape’s new scenario planning has indicated that we expect to experience our peak at the end of June or beginning of July.
“At this peak, these models indicate that we will require 7,800 hospital beds at our peak and 9,300 people could die,” Winde said in a statement.
“The Western Cape has worked hard to prepare its systems in line with our initial projections based on available evidence at that stage, which predicted a lower demand on our healthcare services.
“We will now look at all the available options to us to determine how best to further strengthen our health systems response and will communicate these soon.”
The province’s health officials have been arranging extra beds and isolation and quarantine units as community transmissions take seed and rise.
Recoveries, Level 3 ‘complacency’
However, while mourning the deaths of another 34 people, Winde said 9,830 have recovered from the virus, compared to 8,083 active cases.
“While we are pleased that nearly 10,000 people have now beaten this virus, we must not become complacent.”
It should be noted the province currently had a backlog of 18,000 test samples as of Monday due to national backlogs affecting five provinces, the national health department said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Winde said the way people behaved when the country moved to level 3 with less restrictions on trade and movement on Monday was vital to how the province’s residents coped as the virus passed through.
“Regulations will be more relaxed but we absolutely must not become complacent.
“We cannot view this as a return to the way things were. In fact, the move to alert level 3 requires all of us to work even harder to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”
He asked people in high-risk groups – those over the age of 55, or people with an underlying illness – to stay at home or work from home unless it was absolutely necessary to go out.
Winde added employers should find ways to allow them to work from home or take additional precautions to keep them safe.
He reiterated the importance of hand-washing; hygiene; keeping a distance of at least 1.5m from any other person; and correctly wearing a clean, cloth mask.
Winde said schools and places of worship should also be strict about complying with the regulations.