Cape Town - The Western Cape has passed the peak of the third wave of Covid-19 infections, with signs of continuous decline, but caution is still the watch word.
During Premier Alan Winde’s regular digital news conference, provincial health department operations chief Dr Saadiq Kariem said that while the province remained in the third wave, the reproduction number based on cases and deaths was at a durable level.
“Case numbers continue on the downward trend and we are currently seeing an average of 1 505 new diagnoses each day, down from 3 002 two weeks ago. The province will only have exited the third wave once we reach a daily case load of fewer than 530 cases a day
“Admissions and deaths have started to decrease more steadily, with an average of 215 new admissions and around 65 deaths each day.”
Kariem said that in the metro there was a 41% week on week decrease in cases and all sub-districts had seen significant decreases in weekly cases over the last week with a similar decrease in case numbers across the rural districts.
He said that short-term forecast from the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium was predicting far fewer cases for the next week and there was a 20% probability that the third wave will be over by September 18.
On the question of whether it is worth pursuing vaccine booster shots for health care workers, UCT public health expert and researcher Prof Mary-Ann Davies said while some counties had begun rolling them out, this was not the case in South Africa yet.
“We will continue to analyse this data very carefully to see if there are any changes in this trend and if there is any waning in terms of protection over time, as this would support the need for booster shots,” said Prof Davies.
Winde shared the results of an analysis of Covid-19 infections, admissions and deaths among residents over 60 years old to determine the real-time effectiveness of the vaccine programme in the Western Cape
He said the research by the provincial health department proved the vaccine was saving lives.
“In the analysis conducted between August 14 and 20 at the peak of the third wave in the province, we found that there were 2455 Covid-19 cases and of these, only 8% of infections occurred among those who were fully vaccinated.
“Of the 729 Covid-19 admissions to hospitals, only 4% of admissions occurred among those fully vaccinated; and of the 292 Covid-19 deaths, only 1.7% occurred among the fully vaccinated.
“To put it simply, over 98% of the people in the Western Cape who died of Covid-19 during this time were not fully vaccinated,” said Winde.