The Western Cape is expected to enter its peak in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic this week.
The head of the province’s department of health, Dr Keith Cloete – during an update on Tuesday on the Covid-19 situation in the province – said though the province was expected to enter the peak on 7 January, and there were signs of stabilisation, the province was still not through the second wave.
The peak, Cloete explained, was when the increase in the number of cases starts slowing down to point a where the number of new cases recorded is less than the day before.
Cloete said it was important to view with caution the current decrease in the number of reported cases because over the holidays and on public holidays, fewer tests were conducted.
In some hospitals in the province, the number of new admissions was starting to slow down as the province moved into a peak, which was an early positive sign, Cloete said, however, that deaths were still on the increase, and that the healthcare system in the province was still under pressure.
Cloete added the province was ready to add more beds in hospitals, with 136 beds to be added in the Cape metro.
As the holiday season draws to an end and people leave or return to the province, Cloete said the province would work on the premise that this would happen responsibly and so a spike was not expected, though the province would be vigilante during this time.
Cloete said the province had entered “uncharted territory in terms of how much oxygen” was being used on a daily basis across the private and public sector hospitals, including military ones.
The province’s public sector hospitals consumed 70% of all oxygen produced, with the remainder used by the private and military hospitals, Cloete said.
Cloete said in the past seven days, the number of trauma cases at hospitals had decreased significantly.
Since 1 November 2020, 25 healthcare workers had passed away due to Covid-19 and there were currently over 1000, about 3% of the total staff complement, active Covid-19 cases.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said the province was now finalising its vaccine rollout strategy, which would have to be efficient and effective, which would also have to be approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.
Cloete said the province was liaising with the national Department of Health on the procurement of a vaccine as it understood that a single procurement strategy would be employed.