Western Cape Health Platform status update - 16 July

COVID-19 numbers in the Western Cape have been stable for the past 10 days: the number of confirmed new COVID-19 cases, admissions and deaths all suggest a gentle easing in the Metro. Though the projection seems to be slowing, we are working on the scenario that there could still be an increase in deaths and admissions. We will continue to monitor this against the modelling for a longer period to be prepared for any eventuality.

Hospitalisation

There are currently 1 634 patients admitted in both the public and private sector facilities, of which 317 patients are admitted to ICU or High Care. To date, we have had 82 264 confirmed cases of which 79,6% (65 530) to date have recovered. We have had 2 493 deaths.

Healthcare Worker status

There have been 4 228 healthcare workers infected.

In the public sector we have had 29 deaths and 3 263 recoveries (77,1%) to date, and have 567 active cases currently.

Staff category

Active cases

Recovered

Deaths

Total infected

Doctors

34

229

0

263

Nurses

248

1 690

13

1 951

Other health workers

285

1 573

16

1 908

Action Plan for managing patients with diabetes

Persons over the age of 55, as well as those of any age who have a chronic condition, are at risk for severe COVID-19 illness and mortality.

Diabetics are particularly vulnerable to severe illness once they become symptomatic and require earlier care and intervention for a better health outcome. That is why the Western Cape Government’s Department of Health has developed a specific action plan on diabetes.

This action plan for persons with diabetes takes a focused, risk stratified approach towards enabling early testing for COVID-19. The action plan focuses on low, medium and high risk to decrease the morbidity and mortality amongst people with diabetes.

Low risk: Those whose diabetes are well controlled with no additional comorbidities. They will receive daily calls from the Department’s Contact Centre to check their symptoms. Should they struggle to control their glucose level and their condition deteriorates, they will be offered admission to a hospital where their condition can be treated and controlled.

Medium: Persons whose diabetes are well or moderately controlled with additional comorbidities. They will receive daily calls from “PODS” to check their symptoms and their blood glucose level and, if deemed medically necessary, will be offered admission to the Hospital of Hope where their condition can be treated and controlled.

High: Persons whose diabetes are poorly controlled, with additional comorbidities and over the age of 70 years old. They will be contacted and offered admission to a tertiary hospital to receive the necessary specialised medical care.

Hospital bed update

Hospital admissions for COVID-19 have stabilised over the past 10 days, across public and private sector hospitals. The Critical Care bed occupancy was previously tracking at 320 patients and is currently averaging at 270 -280 patients. Similarly, total admissions were previously tracking at 1 900 patients and are currently averaging at 1600 – 1700 patients.

Our acute care platform is operating at 70% occupancy, which means we still have sufficient beds available to treat both COVID-19 and non-COVID admissions. We are beginning to prepare for the resumption of non-COVID elective medical care, which should come on line within the next month.

Testing

There is no backlog at the NHLS at the moment. Additional capacity has also been brought online through private labs and the utilisation of academic institutions. The Western Cape branch of the NHLS has indicated they will assist the NHLS Eastern Cape branch with testing capacity. The Western Cape supports providing assistance to neighbouring provinces in an attempt to fast track results as was done in the Western Cape previously.

 Quarantine and Isolation

We have admitted a total of 4 198 people since the start of the pandemic. There are currently 606 people in isolation and 201 in quarantine in both Metro and Rural facilities.

Intermediate Care facilities (“Field Hospitals”)

  • Hospital of Hope (CTICC): We have admitted 1 069 patients as at 14 July 2020; 751 have been discharged, and we have seen 58 deaths to date
  • Brackengate: The facility will open on 20 July.
  • Thusong Centre, Khayelitsha: We have admitted 198 patients to date; 138 have been discharged and we have seen 28 deaths
  • Sonstraal Hospital: The facility will open its first 63 beds this month.
  • Additional Rural beds: Additional rural beds will be brought online - 32 in Hermanus; 20 in Vredendal; 20 in George.

These additional Intermediate Care beds have had a significantly positive impact, having relieved the pressure on our acute hospitals such that the occupancy in our acute hospitals is still manageable.

Testing and Triage Centres

The Western Cape Government continues to open new testing and triage centres across the province. We currently have 19 of these facilities operational; construction of seven completed; 15 Centres are in construction.

We all need to change our behaviour

Behaviour change models indicate that we need to change our everyday habitual behaviours if we are going to prevent further spread of the virus by:

  • Practicing social distancing
  • Isolating when sick
  • Not removing our masks when talking or exercising
  • Washing or sanitizing our hands regularly
  • Avoid touching our mouth, eyes and nose (T-zone)
  • Practicing cough etiquette and
  • Cleaning highly used surfaces

We urge all citizens to remain careful in observing the essential 5 Golden Rules of hygiene and safety. It remains important to take particular care of persons with underlying conditions and particularly Diabetes, who are at significantly increased risk of severe COVID-19. We urge these people to really take special care and to shield themselves from exposure where possible.

The protection of our most vulnerable loved ones remains in our collective hands.