The Western Cape Government said it is deeply concerned about the growing number of Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations in the province, which can now be considered as an established resurgence.

The provincial government said that a ‘resurgence’ is when the number of active cases increase, week-on-week, by more than 20%.

Over the last week alone, the province has witnessed a 52.1% jump in new cases, with an established pattern over time, it said.

“There is also now established community transmission of the virus again in this province, which means that it is spreading within communities at a faster rate.”

This growth is primarily driven by two districts in the Western Cape: the Garden Route and the Cape Metro.

“Last week, we issued a hotspot alert for the Garden Route, following an alarming growth of cases in the area. This surge has continued to gain momentum and there are now more active cases in George and Knysna sub-districts than at any point in the pandemic to date. ”

The City of Cape Town is following a similar trajectory to this region and looks to be about 10-14 days behind. The Western Cape government is therefore also issuing a hotspot alert for the metro.

“It is important to highlight that the growth in cases in the city is being recorded in every sub-district and is not being driven by any one area. This is verified by waste-water treatment testing.

“While the growth in cases province-wide has mainly been driven by these two districts, we are also worried about the Cape Winelands, which is starting to record a concerning number of new cases.

“The Overberg District, Central Karoo District and West Coast District are being closely monitored given their proximity to these hotspots.”

Increase in positive tests 

The established Covid-19 resurgence in the Western Cape is also reflected in the proportion of positive tests, which has now grown to 16%. This is comparable to the test positivity rate experienced in the Western Cape in early May 2020.

“My biggest concern is for our health platform, which is under growing pressure. We need to ensure that every person gets healthcare when they need it,” said premier Alan Winde.

“Hospitalisations reached a low of under 500 in September, and they have now reached 904 as of yesterday. There are currently 431 people in public hospitals and 473 in private hospitals in the Western Cape.”

In the last 24-hour reporting period alone, Winde said that the number of people being hospitalised for Covid-19 increased by a staggering 54 people.

“Our Brackengate Hospital of Hope, went from having just a few patients in September, to 109 as of today.

“In fact, since the start of November, Covid-19 hospitalisations across the province have increased by 63%. The private sector has increased by 94%, while the public sector has increased by 39%. ”

Critical care admissions have increased by 75% since the start of November. This is particularly concerning as an admission to a critical care unit is an indication of severe illness that might lead to death.

“We need every person in the Western Cape to help prevent a Lockdown and to ensure that there are enough empty beds in our hospitals for those who need them,” said Winde.

“We must be under no illusion as to how serious the situation is, and how quickly it can deteriorate further. ”

Fuller hospitals 

The Western Cape Government has intentionally reintroduced key healthcare services to facilities because we need to provide comprehensive care to everyone who needs it, not just those with Covid-19.

This means the province’s hospitals are already fuller than they were earlier this year, during the first wave of hospitalizations.

“We want to avoid at all costs having to once again de-escalate these essential services because this will have a detrimental impact on the health of our people. We have to save all lives, including those who don’t have Covid-19,” said Winde.

“We also cannot afford a Lockdown again, as is being witnessed in many European countries right now. Our economy simply cannot afford it. A lockdown would kill jobs and cause our humanitarian disaster to worsen. This will also cost lives in the future. ”

This means that the only option available is to bring the situation under control through individual actions.

“We have to do everything possible to ensure that we do not get infected by Covid-19 and that we do not spread Covid-19,” he said.

National cases 

South Africa’s national Covid-19 death toll reached the 21,000 mark after 115 more people lost their lives on Tuesday (24 November).

Of the additional deaths, 45 were recorded in the Eastern Cape, 20 in Free State, 19 in Gauteng, 16 in the Western Cape, 10 in Kwa-Zulu-Natal and five in the Northern Cape.

This brings the total number of fatalities to 21,083 since the Covid-19 pandemic started in March.

A total of 2,493 daily cases were reported, taking the total reported to 772,252. Recoveries have climbed to 716,444, leaving the country with a balance of 34,725 active cases.

According to the Health minister’s latest statistics, the Eastern Cape has the highest number of active cases at 8,512, followed by the Western Cape 7,880 and Free State 7,280.

KwaZulu-Natal has 5,645 active cases, Northern Cape 3,269, North West 1,230, Mpumalanga 373, Limpopo 373 and Gauteng 243.

“The cumulative number of tests conducted to date is 5,325,631 with 20,288 new tests conducted since the last report,” said Health minister Zweli Mkhize.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is reporting 58,900,547 global confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 1,393,305 deaths.

Read: South Africa has moved from ICU to high-care: economist