Eastern and Western Capes hit by strong resurgence of COVID-19

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Although not yet defined by the Health minister as a second surge, COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Cape now amount to well over half of all new infections in South Africa, while the Western Cape has seen a similar resurgence with new cases up by half over the past week, writes MedicalBrief.

The Eastern Cape now accounts for between 50% and 55% of the daily new Covid-19 cases but Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says it is too soon to call it a second wave of infections, saying whether the resurgence becomes a second wave of infections, depends on how successful area-based infections are contained.

Answering parliamentary questions, Mkhize said that at the peak of the pandemic, there were around 13,000 new cases per day, dropping to about 1,000 a day. “But now those cases have started creeping up. And, as they creep up, we see that the increase is actually coming from the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape. More significantly, the Eastern Cape is now on a daily basis responsible for between 50 and 55% of new positive cases recorded.”

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says the resurgence means that there is now “established community transmission of the virus”, with new cases increasing by more than 50% over the past week. The growth was primarily driven by two districts: the Garden Route and the Cape Metro, but “we are also worried about the Cape Winelands, which is starting to record a concerning number of new cases”.

“Last week, we issued a hotspot alert for the Garden Route, following an alarming growth of cases in the area. This surge has continued to gain momentum and there are now more active cases in George and Knysna sub-districts than at any point in the pandemic to date,” said Winde.

The City of Cape Town was following a similar trajectory, although it looked to be about 10 to 14 days behind. “We are, therefore, also issuing a hotspot alert for the metro. It is important to highlight that the growth in cases in the city is being recorded in every sub-district and is not being driven by any one area. This is verified by waste-water treatment testing.”

“Hospitalisations reached a low of under 500 in September, and they have now reached 904 as of yesterday. There are currently 431 people in public hospitals and 473 in private hospitals in the Western Cape.

“Hospitalisations reached a low of under 500 in September, and they have now reached 904 as of yesterday. There are currently 431 people in public hospitals and 473 in private hospitals in the Western Cape. Critical care admissions have increased by 75% since the start of November.”


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