Covid-19 infections are on the rise in the Western Cape ,with the province hitting an average of 2,000 daily cases.
The proportion positive has increased to an average of 38% and hospital admissions are showing signs of an early increase ,with 65 admissions per day.
But the head of the province’s health department Dr Keith Cloete says patients seeking medical treatment for other conditions are testing positive for Covid-19 during routine examinations.
Meanwhile, deaths remain low, with less than one death per day.
All provinces continue to see steep increases in cases, except the Northern Cape, and they have reached the threshold of the fourth wave.
Rural districts in the Western Cape are also seeing increases in cases, except in Central Karoo, where the numbers are still very low.
The Western Cape is now experiencing a decline in demand for vaccinations.
So far, 46% of people are vaccinated in the province.
“Fewer people are presenting themselves for vaccines, which is problematic. Large amounts of unvaccinated people are in the younger age groups,” said Cloete.
The widening gap between cases and admissions – started in wave three but increased in wave four. This is most likely due to increasing immunity from vaccination and prior infection.
“In an unvaccinated person with no previous infection, there is no evidence to date that can prove Omicron is less severe than previous variants. We are still seeing some very sick patients,” Cloete.
Be cautious this festive season
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde welcomed the decision to lift travel restrictions on the country.
And Cape Town City plans to close off some roads to allow restaurants to spill out into the streets and pavements to enable socially distanced trading.
Winde cautioned holidaymakers against too much partying, saying it was important for people to avoid big gatherings keep their social circles limited and small.
He encouraged people to socialise outside or in open spaces ,while taking other precautions like wearing masks and sanitising.
Winde said vaccinations remained the first line of defence and called on all residents to heed pleas to get the jab.