WC Health Dept ready says it is ready to deal with COVID-19 third wave

The province now joined the Free State, Gauteng, the North West and the Northern Cape as provinces confirmed to have entered a third wave.

A hospital worker and patient with COVID-19 in in the resuscitation room of the COVID-19 ward at Khayelitsha Hospital, about 35km from the centre of Cape Town, on 29 December 2020. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Health Department said that it was prepared to deal with a third wave of COVID-19 infections.

The province now joined the Free State, Gauteng, the North West and the Northern Cape as provinces confirmed to have entered a third wave.

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The Western Cape had over 6,100 active cases - more than double the tally a month ago.

Premier Alan Winde said that in the past week, active cases had increased by almost 1,700 or 38%.

Hospital admissions, deaths and oxygen usage were also rising.

"All of the indicators are indicating that we have moved beyond resurgence of COVID-19 in the province to the start of the third wave. My message to the citizens of this province is we really need to work hard at flattening this curve."

Over 1,000 people were in hospital and on average there were 52 new admissions per day.

In Cape Town, hospitals had an average occupancy rate of 94%.

Provincial head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete, calculated that the third wave could last for between eight to 10 weeks.

"There are a lot of things that can shift that. The behaviour can either flatten and slow and make it longer. If we all behave extremely well in the Western Cape, we can make that eight to 10 weeks longer but lower."

He said that they had prepared more beds, staff and oxygen.

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