The Western Cape government on Thursday announced it was experiencing a resurgence in active Covid-19 cases, but said it was not yet in the grips of a third wave.
“We have now officially gone into resurgence. It is not quite the start of a third wave but it’s the early most sustained sign that we have had increased cases,” said Western Cape head of health Dr Keith Cloete. “This is the time for us to collectively flatten that third wave as it is very real.”
Cloete was speaking at a briefing by the provincial government on its Covid-19 response.
Cloete said the rise in coronavirus cases was largely due to the relaxation by residents in observing Covid-19 regulations.
He cited large gatherings, parties, university residences and people travelling as some of the contributors to the rising cases.
According to Cloete, the current reproduction number of cases in the Western Cape stands at 1.2. The reproduction number is a key indicator of how fast Covid-19 cases are increasing or whether cases are decreasing.
A reproduction number below one indicates that cases are dropping while above one it shows that cases are beginning to increase.
“That means for every 10 positive active cases we have currently, we get 12 new cases. And that is why we have gone into resurgence,” Cloete said.
“The number of daily new Covid-19 cases is starting to rise and we are now seeing on average 170 new diagnoses a day. There has been a 39% increase week-on-week in this province.”
Cloete said hospital admissions and deaths were also increasing slightly at 17% and 8%, respectively.
We are seeing about 29 hospital admissions and four deaths each day.
Although Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said South Africa was not yet in a third wave of Covid-19 cases, he warned that the country was at risk and heightened vigilance was required.
On Wednesday, new cases nationally increased by 2,759, pushing the total to 1,602,031 while 1,548 new ones were recorded on Tuesday. The Free State, Gauteng and Northern Cape provinces recorded the majority of cases.
As of Wednesday, the Western Cape had 2,535 active Covid-19 infections, with a total of 288,951 people having been infected to date and 274,731 recoveries.
Premier Winde pleads with residents to adhere to protocols
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde appealed to residents to play their part by adhering to health and safety protocols like social distancing, hand washing, sanitising and wearing face masks.
“In our seven-day rolling average, we are now at more than a 20% increase. That means we are in resurgence. So, that’s the potential start of a third wave,” Winde said.
“It’s in our hands as citizens of this province as to whether it gets fully fleshed into a third wave or we manage this resurgence and keep these numbers at bay because it is a big race against time now. We need to get people registered and vaccinated as well as managing this surge so that we get that balance right.”
Winde also encouraged citizens who are 60years and older to register for the second phase of the government’s Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“You will not be able to be on the system if you are not registered. I’m calling on everyone in the Western Cape to help us and get our fellow citizens registered. We need to get our registration numbers up. So far, we are sitting at 202,849 registered so there are a number of people out there who are not on the system,” he said.