Western Cape: ‘Trigger warning’ announced as COVID-19 cases mount
Alan Winde said that the Western Cape is prepared to handle the third wave, but efforts have been ramped up to handle mounting cases.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said on Sunday 20 June that his province is ready to tackle the third wave of COVID-19 infections and announced that a new vaccination site will open on Monday that promises to provide 1 400 people with the jab every day.
Winde said that the Western Cape has sufficient resources to handle the latest surge in positive cases, but said that a “trigger warning” has been released after healthcare services found themselves inundated with cases over the past 21 days.
‘Trigger warning’ in place for Western Cape
Winde said that the Western Cape is prepared to “scale-up” its response to the mounting infection rate, and pledged to continue ramping up vaccinations in the province. On Monday, Winde will open the Old Mutual COVID-19 vaccination site at Mutual Park, Old Mutual in Pinelands, Cape Town.
“The private vaccination site will have an initial capacity of approximately 1 400 vaccinations per day, which will later be ramped up to approximately 3 000 vaccinations per day,” he in a statement on Sunday.
“I want to reassure residents that we do have enough resources in place to respond the increasing number of COVID-19 infections in the province. We are further able to scale up our response where needed.”
Winde said that he has devised a five-point plan to combat the third wave, and said that a trigger system has been put in place that is implemented when there is a large increases in daily cases by more than 20% for over a week, an overall test positivity is over 7% for over a week, more than 15% of hospitals have over 10% of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients; or an increase of over 50% in pre-COVID-19 hospital oxygen use.
“We have clearly identified trigger points in place to ensure that our healthcare system can identify risks and respond adequately, which have been developed to ensure that we all protect the healthcare system as it is coping with a three-fold commitment – the vaccination programme, attending to COVID-19 cases and maintaining comprehensive health services,” said Winde.
Winde confident that province can handle third wave
Winde said that his five-point plan is set up to ensure that the province’s healthcare system doesn’t become overwhelmed.
Winde said that The 5-point plan focusses on:
- Changing community behaviours to prevent infection;
- Surveillance and outbreak response;
- Scaling up the health platform’s COVID-19 capacity;
- Maintaining comprehensive services; and
- Safeguarding and protecting the wellbeing of healthcare workers.
He said that there are currently enough beds in hospitals to accommodate the anticipated admissions.
“We have enough bed capacity to respond to the increase in COVID-19 cases and assist those in need of intermediate care, high care or ICU. Through previous investments during the pandemic, we can bring online additional bed capacity, where needed,” he said.
He said that in the Western Cape, the total general bed use rate is at 85% and our COVID-19 bed use rate is at 17%.
“But we are seeing a rapid increase in persons requiring hospitalisation,” he said.
Public support needed
Winde said that while his provincial government is doing all it can to prepare for the third wave, the public desperately needs to come to the table and assist.
“The Western Cape Government is prepared to respond to a third wave, but we need your support to flatten the curve and save lives. It’s up to you to prevent infections and you can do so by practicing the important behaviours that we have learnt over the past year.”
He said that only small numbers of people should be gathering during Alert Level 3 lockdown,
“Should you have to gather, remember to keep it short, outside and small – with good ventilation. You should also ensure that you avoid the 3Cs of crowded spaced, confined places and close contact.”
“While we expect that the third wave will be lower than the second wave, this is entirely dependent on our behaviour. Let’s play part in saving lives and flattening the curve.”