The Department of Health in the Western Cape revealed some of the ongoing work and studies being conducted to ensure that the province’s response to COVID-19 continues to be data-led and evidence-based during Premier Alan Winde’s weekly digicon.
Premier Windes said the province does not have reliable tools to predict the likelihood, location, or timing of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
Nevertheless, he said ongoing surveillance remains key in giving an understanding of emerging trends.
“One of the surveillance strategies available to us is the use of serology testing, which helps us to determine the proportion of people who have been previously infected,”
“One of the ways that we can explore whether there is an increase in the number of new cases in a specific area is to look at waste-water testing. We have seen this kind of science being used all around the world and waste-water epidemiology is not new to South Africa. The country has been conducting polio surveillance for a number of years in this way and the country has sufficient skills in this area. The Western Cape and the City of Cape Town are part of a national network of partners, which includes the NICD, which will be taking this kind of testing forward,” Winde said.
Covid-19 cases continue to decline in the Western Cape
The Western Cape continues to record declining test positivity rates, deaths, and hospitalizations for COVID-19.
At the moment COVID-19 admissions to acute hospitals in the Cape Metro account for 9% of all hospital admissions, while oxygen usage has declined to 46% of total capacity.
Rural hospitals are also starting to see a decline in cases with reports of spare critical care capacity.
“All of these are very positive signs for the province, but they must not be seen as a sign that we are out of the woods. Our urgent focus must be on ensuring that we are able to fully re-open our economy so that we can save jobs and avoid a pandemic of unemployment, hunger, and starvation. In order to do this, we must ensure that businesses are operating safely and that the number of infections in the Western Cape remains low,” Winde added.