It’s official: The Western Cape has exited the 4th Wave

The Western Cape has officially exited the fourth wave. It’s time we exited the National State of Disaster too so that we can address our country’s unemployment crisis

Statement by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde: 

The Western Cape has officially exited the fourth wave. According to the technical definition, we will have exited our fourth wave when new infections are 15% of the peak or 600 cases. New case numbers have now dipped below 600 new cases based on a 7-day moving average.

The number of new cases per day, based on a 7-day-moving average, is now 588.

It is now time that we exit the National State of Disaster too. The decrease in deaths and hospital admissions recorded during the fourth wave, coupled with the increased rates of protection among residents shows us that the virus is reaching an endemic stage.

Instead, we need to focus our attention on ending the second pandemic of joblessness that continues in our country.

“Decreases in COVID-19 cases, admissions and test positivity show that we have exited the fourth wave.”

We are seeing a continued decrease in new COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions and COVID-19 test positivity, showing us that we have exited the fourth wave.

The South African COVID-19 Modelling Consortium (SACMC) prediction that we will see fewer cases for next week further supports this.

Insofar as our healthcare capacity in the Western Cape is concerned (based on the most recent data):

  • The reproduction or “R” number remains below one, indicating that cases are declining.
  • The proportion of positive COVID-19 tests has also decreased to 20%. This has declined from 28% last week when we were beginning to exit the fourth wave.
  • New admissions are decreasing to 98 admissions per day. This has declined from 174 new admissions daily last week.
  • We are currently seeing on average 18 deaths per day, which has declined from 31 deaths based on a 7-day moving average last week.

According to the South African Medical Research Council, excess deaths from natural causes for the country have exceeded the predictions but are showing early signs of a decline. However, in terms of excess deaths in the Western Cape, these are increasing in line with predictions, but are still much lower than previous waves.

This demonstrates that the Provincial Department of Health is accurately and effectively testing, monitoring and detecting the spread of the virus. I want to sincerely all officials who are playing their part in the fight against COVID-19.  

While it is excellent news that we have exited the fourth wave, I remind residents to continue to practice the lifesaving behaviours that we have learnt to stop the spread throughout the pandemic so that we can prevent any spikes in infections.

“We are decommissioning the Mitchells Plain Hospital of Hope as our hospitals have sufficient capacity.”

Following the decreased demand on our healthcare platform, we will now be decommissioning the Mitchells Plain Hospital of Hope.

Should it be necessary, we will be able to bring additional infrastructure online to ensure that our healthcare system is fully capacitated and can ensure an agile response.

Insofar as our acute service platform is concerned:

  • The total daily bulk oxygen for the public sector at the peak was 17.03 tonnes. If we compare this to the third wave peak on 8 August 2021, the public sector was using 49.07 tonnes per day or 302% compared to the pre-COVID-19 baseline. Despite there being many cases, there was significantly less pressure on our healthcare platform.
  • The Metro hospitals have an average bed occupancy rate of 90%; George drainage area hospitals stand at 71%; Paarl drainage area hospitals stand at 80% and Worcester drainage area hospitals stand at 77%. Critical care bed occupancy rate for designated COVID-19 beds for the province stands at 35%.
  • COVID-19 and persons under investigation cases currently make up 7% 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 45 patients, Mitchells Plain Hospital of Hope has 0 patients. Sonstraal currently has 39 patients; Harry Comay has 3 patients and Freesia and Ward 99 have no patients.

“I strongly encourage those of you who are 50 years and older, or who are adults with comorbidities to please ensure that your vaccines are up to date.”

While I am pleased to note that a total of 899 170 people or 63.89% of the 1 407 309 of those over 50 years are already fully vaccinated, I strongly encourage those of you who are 50 years and older, or who are over 18 years and who have comorbidity or are otherwise immunocompromised to please ensure that your vaccinations are up to date.

It’s not too late to receive your first, second or even your booster shot when it is your turn. 

We know that vaccines work and have played a significant role in helping to reduce the number of deaths and hospital admissions during the fourth wave – and well help to do so in subsequent waves. Please do not delay.

By 27 January 2022, a total of 2 402 064 or 48.26% of the adult population in the province had been fully vaccinated against a total of 41.22% of the adult population nationally. To date, the Western Cape Government has administered a total of 4 687 489 vaccines and in the last 24 hours alone, we have administered 10 953 vaccines.

If we look at the age breakdown of those vaccinated by 27 January, we find that of those:

  • 60 years and older: 68.12% of the total population are fully vaccinated and 72.38% have received at least one vaccine dose.
  • Between 50 and 59 years: 59.42% of the total population are fully vaccinated and 63.58% have received at least one vaccine dose.
  • Between 35 and 49 years: 50.78% of the total population are fully vaccinated and 56.08% have received at least one vaccine dose.
  • Between 18 and 34 years: 35.72% of the total population are fully vaccinated and 43.47% have received at least one vaccine dose.
  • Between 12 and 17 years: 3.62% of the total population are fully vaccinated and 18.99% have received at least one vaccine dose.

The Provincial Department of Health will continue to drive vaccine uptake further by taking a targeted approach to its vaccine rollout, focussing on the community level and areas with low vaccine uptake.

“Premier Winde thanks healthcare workers for yet again serving on the frontline”

I want to sincerely thank all of our healthcare workers and those who work at our healthcare facilities for serving on the frontline throughout the pandemic, seeing us through yet another wave. We are truly indebted to you.

To the residents of this province, let’s show our gratitude by:

  • Getting vaccinated, protecting yourself from severe illness and death in subsequent waves.
  • Wearing a mask correctly, covering both your nose and mouth. Ensure that you dispose of or wash your mask after each use.
  • Ensuring good ventilation, with lots of fresh air. If you are gathering, do it outside.
  • Adhering to the Golden Rules of Good Hygiene, including staying home as soon as you feel sick.

Each of us has a role to play in ensuring that we keep safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Photo: Taryn Elliott – Pexels

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