WC Health Dept officials expect peak in COVID-19 cases to hit in Jan

The province is currently dealing with 34,000 active cases and the peak would be far, far higher than the one during the first wave earlier this year.

FILE: Medical swabs to test for the coronavirus. Picture: Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape expects to hit its second peak of COVID-19 infections in the first week of the new year.

The province is currently dealing with 34,000 active cases and the peak will be far, far higher than the one during the first wave earlier this year.

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Health authorities have also been able to collect data on the new coronavirus variant, which supports the thinking that it spreads much faster.

The second wave of COVID-19 has the Western Cape in its grips and it is far more powerful than the first.

Head of Western Cape Health, Dr Keith Cloete, on Tuesday said every single district was set to peak higher, except for Khayelitsha.

The Cape Metro is currently about 17 days away from the height of the second wave.

“We expect, according to the modelling, by applying what has happened in Nelson Mandela Bay and what is happening in the Garden Route, we expect in the metro the peak to be in the first week in January,” Cloete said.

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Cloete said that data analysis on the Cape Flats had confirmed the new variant of the virus did spread faster, and he believed that explained the runaway numbers experienced on the Garden Route and the rest of the Western Cape.

“The reason why it spreads faster... that is the mutations, it binds with the human cell easier. It means you need smaller amounts of the virus to become infected,” he said.

The massive upsurge in new cases has put the province's hospitals and healthcare workers under extreme strain.

Cloete said that they were in the process of scaling up hospital capacity.

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