16 April 2020
Today would have marked the final day of the original lockdown period and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to those residents who have taken it seriously, who have abided by the rules and have helped us to stop the spread.
We understand that this is hard- we have never faced a situation of this nature in this country before. But every single person who has complied has played a very important role in ensuring that we are able to reduce the number of infections, protect vulnerable groups and ultimately, to save lives.
The next two weeks of lockdown are an opportunity for us to do even more to stop the spread. The more we do now, the more time we have to prepare ourselves and all of our systems, and the more lives we will be able to save.
As of 00h01 on 16 April, the Western Cape has recorded 702 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.
|Total confirmed COVID-19 cases||702|
|Total confirmed deaths||7|
|Total active cases (currently infected patients)||490|
|Patients in hospital||35 of which 16 are in ICU|
Sub Districts Cape Town Metro:
Sub Districts Non-Metro:
|Garden Route||Mossel Bay||17|
|Cape Winelands||Breede Valley||9|
|West Coast||Saldanha Bay Municipality||4|
* Due to updates to address data, two cases from Stellenbosch have been re-assigned to a different sub-district.
Health systems response:
As the national government’s modeling has indicated, the lockdown has delayed the curve of the Coronavirus pandemic, buying us time to prepare our healthcare systems to properly cater to the need that will arise at this time.
Yesterday, the we opened the temporary testing and triage unit at Mitchells Plain hospital. This is one of 17 such planned units, which help to alleviate the pressure on our emergency centres and allow us to screen, test and assist patients separately from the hospital’s other services.
This is just one aspect of our planning. We have also identified various sites to be used as temporary hospital facilities.
These plans include three additional temporary acute treatment facilities where patients will be admitted and receive supportive treatment. We are planning two such facilities in the metro region, and a third in one of our non-metro areas. Each site will provide us with an additional 300-650 beds.
We are in the advanced stages of planning and negotiation on some of these sites and will make announcements in this regard shortly.
As community screening and testing continues to reach more people, the need for isolation and quarantine facilities will increase. This enables us to place people, who may not be able to isolate or quarantine in their homes, into safe facilities. We already have a number of sites available to us which have been in use up until now.
The Western Cape Government does not reveal the location of these sites in order to protect patient privacy.
The Western Cape launched its recruitment drive for volunteers with medical experience, on 3 April. Since then, we have received 854 responses to the call, which we are currently reviewing. We thank all of these people for offering to step up to the frontline to assist the thousands of Western Cape Government healthcare workers who have already been activated, or who stand ready to respond to increased admissions as a result of COVID-19.
Those still wishing to volunteer can fill out the form available at: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/department-of-health/volunteer-recruitment-questionnaire
Community screening and testing update:
Since community screening started on 4 April, we have screened 28 718 people and tested 2102 people.
In total, the province has conducted 12 785 tests for COVID-19.
We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to community testing, which was drastically scaled up this week. Testing has been targeted at areas where community transmissions have occurred and in high density areas where the risk of further infection, or infection of vulnerable groups, is higher.
The screening is designed to be agile and to react quickly to new pockets of infection.
This has been especially important as over the past week we have registered a number of cases linked to supermarkets. Supermarkets are one of the few spaces during a lockdown where members of the public interface, and it is therefore crucial that those who shop take excellent hygiene and social distancing precautions, including hand sanitizing, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the crook of the elbow and ensuring that there is physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres. We also encourage the use of clean, cloth masks.
We have worked with these supermarkets to screen, test and isolate cases and to ensure close contacts quarantine themselves.
Stores have also been closed to allow for deep cleaning so as to ensure they are safe for customers.
We have also as a result, pro-actively developed protocols to be used in the retail sector, and will be meeting with supermarket representatives soon in order to discuss these.
The public is urged to only leave the home when absolutely necessary. Where possible, shopping should only be done by one family member, and by the healthiest person in the home.
Those who feel ill must stay at home. Anyone experiencing symptoms can call the national or provincial hotline numbers in order to be advised of the best course of action.
Our provincial JOC, together with the South African Police Services have been hard at work planning and executing several repatriation operations.
In total 5276 people have been repatriated to Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, France, the USA, Belgium, Canada, Brazil and Switzerland.
Some of these operations have been logistically complex-with several flights taking off on the same day. We thank all of those involved in helping to ensure that these operations have been done with the highest regard for the safety of all of those involved.
The extension of the lockdown period has seen increased demand among foreign visitors wanting to return home. We will continue to work closely with the various embassies and consulates in order to accommodate their requests. Those wishing to return home must liaise with their various embassies or consulates in order to arrange this.