Statement by Premier Winde at his weekly digicon

“Western Cape health data from the third wave reveals that residents 50 years and older were 7.5 times more likely to die of COVID-19”

The Western Cape continues to analyse its data to better understand the risks that COVID-19 presents, as well as the effectiveness that vaccines provide. Sharing this information with the public enables residents to better understand the benefits that vaccination brings, especially for those in high-risk categories.

Our analysis found that:

  • Those aged 50 years and older were 7.5 times more likely to die compared to younger age groups;
  • Men were 1.4 times more likely to die than women; and
  • Those who have comorbidities have an increased chance of dying, and that comorbidities are more common among those 50 years and older.

On the other hand, COVID-19 vaccines were extremely effective in preventing serious illness and death. Our analysis in the 50+ shows us that:

  • Those who have been vaccinated for less than 21 days after their first dose are 1.4 times less likely to die than those unvaccinated;
  • Those who have been vaccinated for more than 21 days after their first dose or who are approaching their second vaccine are 1.9 times less likely to die than those unvaccinated; and
  • Those who are fully vaccinated are 4.3 times less likely to die than those unvaccinated.

This is a significant difference, and it is why every person who is over 50 years should act quickly so that they get this important protection.

While the vaccine does not offer 100% protection, it does provide significantly more protection than not being vaccinated at all.

To date, only 52% of those in this high-risk age group have been fully vaccinated and just 9% are partially vaccinated. This means that there are still a significant number of people who can get infected, and end up in a hospital and die during a fourth wave. This is not only heartbreaking for family and loved ones, but it will also mean that a high burden will remain on our healthcare system.

That is why I urge residents, especially in the 50+ category, to get vaccinated as soon as possible. It is your best defence against dying from COVID-19, and it will also protect our healthcare system and keep our economy open.

“The Western Cape has exited the third wave and our hospitals are coping with the demand – it’s time to end the National State of Disaster”

Our healthcare platform shows us that across the province:

  • Incident cases continue to decrease, and we are now seeing on average 315 new diagnoses each day.
  • The proportion of positive COVID-19 tests has decreased to 8%.
  • Admissions and deaths continue to decrease, with an average of 64 new admissions and around 17 deaths each day.

That is why I have written to the President to request a consultation with provinces before the extension of the disaster act has been promulgated, and for transparency on the roadmap for the ending of the state of disaster. 

We cannot be in a state of disaster forever, especially if we are to grow our economy, create jobs and recover. Rather, Provincial Governments should be empowered to manage the response, in line with a differentiated model.

“We have decommissioned the Mitchells Plain Hospital of Hope and the Metro Mass Fatality Centre in line with decreased demand”

In line with decreased demand on our healthcare platform, we have now decommissioned the Mitchells Plain Hospital of Hope and the Metro Mass Fatality Centre. Additional capacity remains available when required.

In preparing for the third wave, we revised our planning with clearly identified trigger points to ensure an agile response. This careful planning has ensured that our healthcare platform can meet the demands placed on it throughout the wave, despite the pressure faced.

Insofar as our acute service platform is concerned:

  • Currently, there are 1670 COVID-19 patients in our acute hospitals which includes 873 in public hospitals and 797 in private hospitals. This excludes persons under investigation and cases in specialised hospital settings.
  • The Metro hospitals have an average bed use occupancy rate of 92%; George drainage area hospitals at 66%; Paarl drainage area hospitals at 68% and Worcester drainage area hospitals at 71%. Critical care bed use occupancy rate for designated COVID-19 beds for the province at 30%.
  • COVID-19 and persons under investigation cases currently make up 8% of all available acute general hospital capacity in both Metro and Rural Regional Hospital drainage areas.
  • COVID-19 inter-mediate care: the Brackengate Hospital of Hope currently has 63 patients or an 18.75% bed use occupancy rate, and Sonstraal currently has 9 clients or a 13.2% bed use occupancy rate.

I want to sincerely thank the many healthcare workers who have seen us through the third wave. You have consistently been a beacon of hope to us all throughout the pandemic.

“Western Cape reaches milestone of administering over 3 million vaccines”

The Western Cape has now reached an important milestone of having administered over 3 million vaccines in the province. I want to commend those who have taken the opportunity to get vaccinated and who are playing their part in protecting themselves and others.

To date, over 42.12% of the adult population in the Western Cape has received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine and the Western Cape is currently the leading province in terms of the total provincial population vaccinated. To date, 1 416 067 or 28.45% of the adult population are fully vaccinated.

Following the Vooma vaccine drive last weekend, there has been a slight increase in vaccine uptake. The Provincial Department of Health will be innovating in its approach going forward, by bringing vaccines even closer to people through more pop-up and satellite vaccine sites.

“You have until 20 October to get our first dose, if you want to be fully vaccinated by the start of the Festive Season. It’s quick, easy and free, so please do not delay.

If we are to save our summer and save lives and jobs in the Western Cape, we need to ensure as many people are fully vaccinated by the start of our festive season on 1st December. For this to happen, we need to get our first dose by 20 October – less than two weeks away.

In doing so, we will be able to achieve our vaccination targets by December which include:

  • Fully vaccinating 70% of those 50 years and older by December. This means that we need to administer 365 981 doses to this age group; and
  • Administering at least one dose to 70% of those between 18 - 49 years by December. This means that we need to administer 1 278 452 doses to this age group.

Please do not delay your vaccine appointment or wait for your SMS to come for your first vaccination, and get to your nearest vaccine site as soon as possible. In turn, we will continue to play our part in ensuring a world-class vaccination programme at each vaccination site across our province.