“New COVID-19 cases, admissions and deaths have plateaued in the Western Cape”

During Premier Winde’s weekly digital press conference yesterday, it was announced that new COVID-19 cases, admissions, and deaths have continued to plateau in the Western Cape. This means that there are no signs of clusters following the Easter break and that there are currently no indications of a third wave.

With the public holidays affecting testing patterns, interpretation of week-on-week changes in case numbers remain a challenge. The changes in admissions and deaths are very small on average. The average proportion testing positive has decreased slightly to 3.9% on 9 April. This is the lowest it’s been since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Cape Metro:

  • Cases have shown a slight decrease between 2 April and 9 April 2021;
  • The percentage changes are large, but the absolute numbers of cases in the sub-districts are very small; and
  • The public holidays are also exaggerating the percentage changes.

In the Rural Districts:

  • Case numbers have also decreased slightly;
  • There is a wide variation across the districts, but the absolute numbers are small; and
  • The Department of Health’s teams on the ground are closely monitoring for any clusters which may have occurred during the Easter weekend. None have been identified.

Insofar as our health platform is concerned, there are:

  • 736 COVID-19 patients are in our acute hospitals (429 in public hospitals and 307 in private hospitals). This excludes PUIs and cases in specialised hospital settings.
  • COVID-19 hospitalisations have continued to decline while the non-COVID service remains busy particularly in the metro due to a combination of trauma and medical cases.
  • The Metro hospitals have an average occupancy rate of 90%; George drainage area hospitals at 63%; Paarl drainage area hospitals at 78% & Worcester drainage area hospitals at 69%.
  • Occupancies in COVID-19 beds show Metro hospitals at 9%; George drainage area hospitals at 13%; Paarl drainage area hospitals at 20%; and Worcester drainage area hospitals at 19%.
  • COVID-19 & PUI cases currently make up 5% of all available acute general hospital capacity in both Metro and Rural Regional Hospital drainage areas.
  • COVID-19 intermediate care at the Brackengate Hospital of Hope currently has 10 patients (3 310 cumulative patients), Freesia & Ward 99 has 0 patients, Mitchell Plain Hospital of Hope has 0 patients and Sonstraal currently has 0 patients. 

“Western Cape Government remains on-track to implement second phase of COVID-19 vaccination programme”

I want to reassure residents in the province that the Western Cape Government remains on-track to implement phase 2 of its mass COVID-19 vaccination strategy, despite the setback caused by the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

It is also worth noting that there have been no cases of blood clotting in the Western Cape and South Africa related to the J&J vaccine, and the decision by the USA to suspend its rollout related to just 6 incidents out of more than 6 million doses.

I am confident that we will receive feedback from the scientific community soon and that this setback will be resolved swiftly.

“Timelines and target populations in place for Phase 2 and 3 of the vaccine programme”

In working towards the implementation of phase 2 and 3 of the province’s vaccination programme, we have established high-level timelines and targets. This provides us with an indication of who will receive their vaccine and by when.

In terms of the roll out of phases 1 and 2:  

  • Remaining health care workers will be vaccinated before 16th May; and
  • Phase 2 will start from 17 May and will operate concurrently during May 2021 with both Pfizer and J&J utilised in parallel.

There will be a transition from one age band to the next once a significant proportion of the target population, approximately 70%, in the current age band have been vaccinated. Our approach to vaccinating different age groups will vary across districts and sub-districts.

Phases 2a and 2b will ensure that:

  • 723 160 people who are 60 years and older are vaccinated between 17 May 2021 - 30 June 2021;
  • 684 149 people between 50 and 59 years old are vaccinated between 1 July 2021 – 30 October 2021; and
  • 904 358 people between 40 and 49 years old are vaccinated between 1 July 2021 – 30 October 2021.

I welcome the announcement today that the new Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) is now live, and that those 60 years and older can register.

To register:

  1. Go to the EVDS portal to register: https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za
  2. Follow the steps on the portal and complete your details.
  3. You will receive a SMS to confirm your registration
  4. When it is your turn to be vaccinated, you will receive a SMS informing you when and where you will be vaccinated.

In total, the vaccination programme in the province will see 4 976 903 people vaccinated in the province. I want to remind residents that as we work towards the implementation of these various phases of the vaccine roll out, we must all continue to be vigilant. COVID-19 is not on holiday, and we must continue making every possible effort to curb its spread.

This includes avoiding the 3 Cs of close contact, confined spaces and crowded places. It also includes continuing to wash and sanitise our hands regularly, wearing our masks correctly and maintaining a safe social distance. If you choose to meet up with friends or family, let’s keep these gatherings short, small and outside. Together, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep the Western Cape moving forward.