Level 3 Lockdown Regulations requires greater vigilance in Witzenberg and Cape Winelands

Tomorrow, 1 June 2020, Witzenberg and the Cape Winelands moves to Level 3 of the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

The implementation of Level 3 lockdown regulations further opens up our economy and increases the movement of people.

It does not signal that we have defeated the Covid-19 pandemic.

The threat of infection and death is still real. We cannot become complacent.

Level 3 Covid-19 lockdown regulations requires greater vigilance from all of us.

When the Western Cape Government implemented the Integrated Health Response Plan for Witzenberg about a month ago, the aim was to slow down the rate of infection and to enhance service delivery in respect of Covid-19.

Indications are that we are starting to see positive results.

Witzenberg has currently 252 positive cases with an 80% (203) recovery rate as at 30 May 2020.

We are making progress, but we must keep to the health and safety protocols in Witzenberg and the broader Cape Winelands area.

Over the past month, the Western Cape Government, Witzenberg Municipality and the Cape Winelands District Municipality have implemented several initiatives to enhance service delivery and slow down the Covid-19 infection rate in Witzenberg and the Cape Winelands.

Community Screening and Testing (CST) teams started in Bellavista, Wolesley, Tulbagh, and Nduli where positive Covid-19 cases were registered, and Covid-19 deaths occurred.

Additional CST teams began screening at the workplaces of possible contacts employed at businesses such as at Pick ‘n Pay, Ceres Fruit Growers, Clicks and Rhodes Fruit Factory.

Contacts were screened and referred for testing at Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities at PA Hamlet, Bella Vista, Wolseley and Tulbagh clinics.  Passive testing, supported by an extensive communication drive, continued at all PHC facilities.

More bed capacity was created at Ceres Hospital for Covid-19 positive patients & Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) that need hospitalisation.

A Testing Facility (tent) was erected at Ceres Hospital for screening and testing.

Infrastructure changes implemented at the hospital are in line with the screening and streaming policy of the Department of Health.

These changes ensure that Covid-19 positive and suspected cases are separated from the non-Covid-19 cases.

In the Cape Winelands the following Covid -19 Quarantine and Isolation Facilities have been established:

Drakenstein: Middelplaas (48 beds) and Groot Drakenstein Cultural Facility (150 beds)

Stellenbosch:         Okkie Jooste Cultural Centre (180 Beds)

Breede Valley:      Old Nekkies (24 beds) and New Nekkies (68 beds)

Langeberg: Montagu Springs (80 beds), Mikes Guesthouse (10 beds) and Avalon Springs (85 beds)

Witzenberg: Dennebos (80 beds) and Rustic Venues (180 beds)

Farmers and agri workers are supported with primary healthcare via the Cape Winelands Mobile Clinics which travel over 28 routes and serves approximately 180 000 people per year.

We have also trained community health workers on farms. They are further supported and mentored by professional nurses.

Disinfectant teams were deployed by our Department of Transport and Public works to disinfect taxis, and the Witzenberg Municipality began disinfecting the public spaces in Ceres.

The Red Dot Taxi service implemented to transport health workers to work and back now also provides transport to Quarantine and Isolation Facilities for Covid-19 positive patients.

Despite their constrained resources, law enforcement agencies in Witzenberg have enforced more stringent controls at roadblocks entering and exiting the municipal area.  The South African Police Services have increased visible policing in the communities. The Witzenberg Business Initiative which represents 130 businesses in Ceres, Tulbagh and Wolseley distributes workplace Covid-19 information and relevant regulations amongst its members.

For more information on workplace safety to stop the spread of Covid-19, please visit https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/frequently-asked-questions/employees/frequently-asked-questions-employees

We have partnered with the agriculture sector and distributed 35 000 face masks to agri workers. The agriculture sector is also donating agriculture products to ensure nobody goes hungry in the area. The Western Cape Government has allocated R800 000 towards food and humanitarian relief in Witzenberg.

Witzenberg Municipality and Cape Winelands are prioritising the health and safety of all its citizens. Regular updates on the implementation of the Witzenberg Covid-19 Integrated Response Plan keep us abreast of progress and allows us to strengthen aspects of the plan when required.

As we open up the economy, the threat of exposure becomes greater.

Alert Level 3 Lockdown places an even greater responsibility on all of us.

I urge you to protect yourself and your loved ones by adhering to the five golden rules and to encourage those you come into contact with to do so too.

Wash your hands, avoid touching your face, cough/sneeze into a tissue/elbow, maintain your distance and stay home.

We will keep a close eye on the opening up of the economy and call on businesses and the broader community of Cape Winelands to implement the guidelines on the management and prevention of Covid19 in the workplaces. Further information on health and safety in the workplace can be accessed via the following link:  https://www.westerncape.gov.za/assets/departments/health/COVID-19/wcgh_circular_h70_of_2020_-_preventing_and_managing_coronavirus_infection_in_the_workplace.pdf 

We aim to protect lives and livelihoods.


*Afrikaans translation