WESTERN CAPE NEWS - As of 13:00 this afternoon, Monday 4 May, the Western Cape has recorded 3451 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.
The Western Cape has recorded an additional 6 COVID-19 deaths-bringing the total number of deaths from the virus in the province to 64.
Total recoveries - 894
Total deaths - 64
Total active cases (currently infected patients) - 2493
Total number of tests - 46285
Patients in hospital - 132 with 51 in ICU
Further statistical data, including recoveries by sub-district, can be accessed on the data dashboard.
See the breakdown below:
Testing through the NHLS:
The Western Cape, through our active case finding approach, has ramped up its testing significantly. Since the 27 April 2020, some 19 619 tests have been conducted in this province.
The vast majority of these tests have been initiated through the public sector, given our testing strategy. These tests are sent to the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), the national entity responsible for testing in the public health system, to determine if the patient is Covid-19 positive.
This major increase in testing in the Western Cape in the last two weeks is now starting to have an impact on the capacity of the NHLS in this province and countrywide, to process all the tests timeously. This has impacted on the release of test results at regular intervals.
We will take this matter up with the President and the National Minister of Health, to request additional testing capacity to be added to the country’s NHLS as we can expect testing to increase further countrywide. There is also a need for testing options that provide results much quicker.
It is important to look at the data over a period of time to check trends, which can be viewed on our dedicated Covid-19 dashboard.
Acceleration of Covid-19 cases:
We are seeing an acceleration in positive Covid-19 cases, which indicates established transmission of the virus between residents in communities and that the curve is continuing to climb at a faster rate.
This transmission has been initiated through cluster outbreaks, centred on places that were deemed essential during level 5 of the lockdown, such as supermarkets. Our data has shown growing transmission in specific geographic areas, particularly in the City of Cape Town and Witzenberg.
This is why it is critical that we continue to be extra vigilant and cautious. The level 5 lockdown did not stop the Covid-19, it only bought us time to prepare for the peak which is still to come.
This week we launched a radio ad, in all 3 languages, which runs across 29 radio stations in our province. Our message remains that every time you gather in any space you are at high risk of transmitting or being infected with Covid-19 and that you must be careful: keep your distance at all times, wear a cloth mask, and follow the golden rules of hygiene at all times.
Safety in the workplace:
In line with level four regulations, a large number of people across the country will have returned to work today. Businesses and employers must ensure that the risks of infection in the workplace are properly managed. Every single workplace must be taking responsibility for their staff and their clientele.
This includes regular cleaning and sanitizing of work spaces and ensuring hand washing facilities or sanitisers are available. The wearing of cloth masks is compulsory and must be enforced by businesses. Where other PPE is appropriate and necessary, this must be worn. Workers must be allowed to social distance- whether they are working in retail, in manufacturing spaces or in office spaces. Where staff are able to continue to work from home, this must be allowed.
Certain businesses may have risks that are specific to their sector or their workspace- which require careful thinking and planning.
These could include disabling finger print access scanners, devising systems for contact-free deliveries, and implementing shift work. The Department of Health, in conjunction with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism are working to devise safety protocols to guide various sectors on how to stop the spread.
For those who are not returning to work yet, the golden rules remain in place. Stay at home and only go out when it is absolutely essential. When leaving home, clean cloth masks must be worn. Handwashing and sanitizing is essential. Social distancing is paramount- in queues at shops, at medical facilities and when receiving a grant.
Do not leave your home if you are sick. If you are experiencing symptoms such as a sore throat, a dry cough or a fever, call the hotline on 021 928 4102, who will direct you on the next steps to take.
The elderly and those who have underlying conditions must stay at home if at all possible. We understand that social grants, including old aged pensions are currently being paid out, and many of our elderly and our vulnerable will be out in public at this time. The golden rules must be practiced and we also call on those residents not collecting grants stay home at this time to reduce the large numbers of people in supermarkets, on public transport and in queues.
We must all be practicing maximum caution to ensure that we stay safe and avoid infecting people who are vulnerable. This is imperative to help us flatten the curve and save lives.
Message from Health Minister Nomafrench Mbombo:
Today I visited Du Noon, which is in the Western Sub-District- one of the sub-districts with the highest number of infections in the Metro. Du Noon, which has high vulnerability because it is densely populated, with 35 769 people living in an estimated 13 356 households, and high levels of poverty, is an area of concern for us.
Due to this area having a number of hotspots, we have devised a strategy that is beyond the normal routine with a ramped up campaign to intensify mass community screening and testing over the next 14 days.
Through this effort we aim to identify positive cases, and to isolate these residents where needs be, slowing further spread. We call on this community, and in fact all communities across the province, to exercise the utmost caution in their daily lives to avoid contracting the virus.
We are committed to ensuring that we flatten the curve.
Seasonal farm workers:
The Western Cape has devised a protocol for seasonal farm workers from the Western Cape who want to return home. Under this protocol, workers traveling home will require a permit from their employer indicating that they are involved in the provision of an essential service, and that they are returning home after completing seasonal work.
Employers must ensure that staff are screened before undertaking the trip- and provide evidence of this screening. This includes a note to accompany the permit detailing the date and time of the temperature/fever reading was completed as well as the name and signature of the person who screened the worker.
I will be writing to the Western Cape police as well as to the Eastern Cape Premier to notify them of the steps taken to ensure the safe return of seasonal workers. We expect a similar level of rigour from the Eastern Cape Government.
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