Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul has called on communities in the Northern Cape to take extra caution in exercising non-pharmaceutical interventions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
Four of the province’s five districts are currently experiencing a fourth wave of infections, with a steep positivity rate of up to 44%.
“We plead with our communities to be extraordinarily careful. What this 44% positivity rate means is that almost every second person tested in the province is positive.
“We are anticipating a further increase in infections as we enter the festive season due to anticipated mobility between districts… and from other provinces. We must emphasise that this can be averted through strict adherence to elementary COVID-19 measures,” Saul said.
According to the Premier, the Northern Cape currently has just over 5 000 active cases and has recorded a daily average of 411 new cases per day over the past seven days.
The Premier reflected that the third wave of infections had a significant impact on the Northern Cape; with more than half of the province’s cumulative 98 000 cases recorded during that period.
The Northern Cape also experienced 55% of its cumulative deaths during the third wave.
“The province experienced a prolonged third wave, which lasted for 24 weeks, resulting in an additional 54 000 new cases during this period. The impact of the disease was felt in all our communities, where 1361 more deaths were recorded, and this was significantly higher than the first and the second wave. The third wave was more deadly. The impact on transmissions by the third wave is more than the impact of the first and the second wave.
“The third wave for the Northern Cape was deadly,” he said.
The province has reflected on lessons learnt during the third wave and has “revised and developed a fourth wave resurgence” plan, which is currently in operation.
“We will spare no effort in improving, customising and implementing timely interventions, as per the policy imperatives on the management of COVID-19,” Saul said.
The provincial Health Department has also established a team specifically focused on oxygen availability in all hospitals.
“Hospitals have not reported any alarming increase or related pressures and most importantly, there are fewer patients requiring to be ventilated or oxygenated. All hospitals have additional oxygen tanks or cylinders, and high flow oxygen capacity has been increased,” Saul said.
The province has vaccinated at least 575 000 people with at least one jab from a target of about 986 000 people.
Saul said from early next year, the province will be upping its work in getting jabs in arms.
“In January 2022, as part of strengthening our vaccine rollout in the province, we will be distributing 130 vaccine fridges, 444 vaccine cold boxes, as well as 280 temperature monitoring devices. We will also be distributing an additional 67 laptops and 92 tablets to improve the efficiency of our  vaccine sites across the province,” he said.
Source: South African Government News Agency