The Western Cape’s healthcare system is ready for the fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Head of Health, Dr. Keith Cloete says the system is, like with the previous waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, ready to react should there be a drastic increase in hospitalizations.
Cloete says the capacity that has been built in the healthcare system, over the past 2 years, can easily be re-activated should the need arise.

He spoke to ENCA and says all systems are in place to deal with the expected 5th wave.

Cloete says the sudden increase in Covid-19 infections, recorded in the past few days, should not be a cause for alarm.

This past weekend, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said the country’s test-positivity rate reached the 22% mark, with Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape recording the majority of new infections.

Cloete says newer versions of the Omicron variant are responsible for this surge in new infections.

Read more here.

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The Athlone Vaccination Centre of Hope officially closed its doors over the weekend.

The facility opened in August of 2021, with a drive-through component that was introduced in September of 2021 to facilitate easier access to Covid-19 vaccines for Mother City residents.

Deputy General at the Western Cape Department of Health, Dr. Saadiq Kariem says that more than 80,000 doses of vaccine had been administered at the site.

He encourages residents to visit the City’s other available vaccination sites to get their Covid-19 injections.

Read more here.

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The Western Cape Government Health has announced adjusted rules for visitors and escorts at public health facilities.

In a statement, the department says: “We firmly believe that being visited by their loved ones is an important part of a patient’s road to recovery. It is also essential to family who are anxious about the wellbeing of their loved one and wants to visit them in hospital. We also understand that it is also reassuring for young patients or the elderly to have an escort present when visiting the emergency room or outpatients’ department.”

The amended visitation guidelines include:
  • Visitors and escorts are only allowed at health facilities under special circumstances.
  • Formal screening of visitors and escorts at entrances is not required.
  • All visitors and escorts should wear masks at all times, sanitise their hands, and maintain physical distance from other people.

Outpatients

  • One escort is only allowed for patients under 18 years old, and disabled, vulnerable, or weak patients.

Emergency Unit

  • Patients younger than 18 years – one escort allowed to accompany the patient into the emergency room.
  • End of life patients – a maximum of two family members allowed to be present at a time.
  • Disabled/vulnerable patients – one escort may be allowed depending on the situation. Will be assessed on a case-to-case basis.
  • All other patients: One escort is allowed only when EC is not crowded. Will be assessed on a case-to-case basis.

 Neonatal patients

  • Mother is encouraged to remain with the patient or regularly visit.
  • Birthing partner or one designated person can visit daily for 60 minutes. Longer visitation at discretion of ward manager.
  • More family members allowed for end of life patients, restricted to two persons at a time for 60 minutes. More people and longer time slots at the discretion of the ward manager.

Maternity & labour

  • Birthing partners should wear a surgical mask and remain at the top end of the bed at all times.
  • COVID-19 positive patients in labour – one birthing partner allowed during active labour at the discretion of the ward manager and provided there is sufficient privacy and space.
  • COVID-19 negative patients in labour – one birthing partner is allowed during active labour if sufficient space and privacy are available.

C-section

  • COVID-19 positive patients: One birthing partner is allowed to be in the operating room if they have been fully vaccinated or had COVID-19 in the past 90 days. No changing of birthing partners allowed.
  • COVID-19 negative patients: One birthing partner is allowed to be in the operating room. No changing of birthing partners.
  • The birthing partner is allowed to remain with the mother in the recovery room and accompany her to the postnatal ward where they can remain for a short while.
  • Birthing partners are not allowed in theatre but can visit mother and baby for 30 minutes in the postnatal ward.

The rules are a guideline and differ depending on the facility and the discretion of ward and hospital managers.

The Western Cape Health Department says evidence, from the fourth wave, again shows that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is less cumbersome than previous variants.

Head of Health, Dr. Keith Cloete says previous Covid-19 infection and vaccination may have lead to the lower incidence of deaths and severe disease in the fourth wave.

Cloete says risk for hospital admission, when infected with Omicron, had dropped by 1.4%, when compared to Delta-infection.

Access the latest Western Cape Covid-19 digital conference here.

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The Western Cape Health Department says data shows that up to 90% of the province’s adult population already had protection against Covid-19 before the onset of the fourth wave.

Head of Health, Dr. Keith Cloete says sero-prevalence data shows a large majority of adults have had Covid-19 anti-bodies present in their blood.

Cloete says this may explain the low levels of hospitalizations and deaths, seen in the current wave of the pandemic.

Access the latest Western Cape Covid-19 digital conference here.

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