Western Cape finally hits plateau of third wave — but it's no time to relax

SA Covid-19 Modelling Consortium says 73% probability province is over hump

Tanya Farber Senior science reporter
A nurse at the Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town gets her Covid-19 jab. File photo.
A nurse at the Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town gets her Covid-19 jab. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander / Sunday Times

The Western Cape, which has lagged only behind Gauteng in its portion of the daily national Covid-19 infections, has finally hit a plateau in its third wave.

This is according to the head of health in the province, Dr Keith Cloete, as well as the SA Covid-19 Modelling Consortium, which said there is a 73% probability that the Western Cape has passed its peak for this wave.

However, because of the lag time between illness and hospitalisation or death, these are still on the increase.

Speaking at a digital press conference on Thursday, Cloete said: “Our third wave looks like a flattening in terms of the number of cases. However, if you look at oxygen use, hospitalisation and daily deaths, these are increasing.”

They are, however, increasing at a lower rate than last week.

The province is seeing about 230 hospital admissions a day and there are now 3,010 people admitted across both the private and public sector with a roughly half-half split.

Cloete said the third wave had been “slightly lower than the second wave” and that the Delta variant remains dominant.

While the alcohol ban and other restrictions had brought down trauma cases — thereby freeing up hospital beds — the taxi violence had caused “an increase in trauma in the last seven days” with stats showing that increase at 9%.

This had also affected health workers who, like many other inhabitants in the metro, could not get to or from work early in the week.

Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbambo said a flattening of the curve is no reason to relax non-pharmaceutical interventions in case the numbers creep up again.

She said despite the regulations, “50 people at a funeral is too many”.

On the vaccine front, she said the province’s “jabs on the ground” approach was proving successful as mobile sites were reaching those who could not get to regular sites.

However, this had been interrupted by the taxi violence which had made bus drivers too afraid to drive the mobile sites around.

According to Cloete, the province is now administering upwards of 30,000 vaccines a day and over one million people have registered, with over 800,000 having received a jab.

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