Western Cape passes peak of COVID-19 fourth wave

Provincial Health Department bosses gave an overview of their management of the pandemic, saying that health facilities were coping and most COVID-19 cases picked up at hospitals were incidental.

FILE: Two patients with COVID-19, one (L) breathing in oxygen, in the COVID-19 ward at Khayelitsha Hospital, about 35km from the centre of Cape Town, on 29 December 2020. Picture: RODGER BOSCH/AFP

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape has now passed the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic’s fourth wave.

Provincial Health Department bosses gave an overview of their management of the pandemic, saying that health facilities were coping and most COVID-19 cases picked up at hospitals were incidental.

Health officials said that although the number of coronavirus cases were declining, active infections still remained high, being driven by the Omicron variant.

Health Department Head, Doctor Keith Cloete, said that there had, however, been a 46% drop in coronavirus cases from 25 December until the beginning of the year.

"Most places in the metro, theres' been a decline in virtually in all sub-districts. In the rural, there's been a big decline in Winelands - there others are still plateauing, so it's a little bit behind the metro," Cloete said.

Cloete said that on average, 230 COVID-19 cases were being admitted to hospital, compared to around 362 hospital admissions during the pandemic’s third wave.

"Even with the 29 deaths per day now over the last couple of days, it is significantly lower and what we had in the third wave which was 123 per day and the second wave, which was 146 deaths per day," he said.

Health officials have reiterated the importance of coronavirus vaccination, saying that around 47% of the Western Cape’s adult population had been fully vaccinated.