Western Cape Ready for Covid-19 Peak – Calls for Lockdown Level 3

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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde attended the President’s Coordinating Council on Sunday to discuss the different ‘alert levels’ for various parts of the country. During the presentation, he explained that the Western Cape has adopted a “targeted hotspot strategy” that goes beyond just district level.

“Using epidemiological data, we can focus on the entire impact of our government on geographical areas where the virus is spreading in order to slow it down and protect vulnerable people.”

Winde acknowledges that this is not business-as-usual and major interventions are needed in the province’s hotspots to save lives. 

According to the premier, this strategy allows for more of the economy to open thereby preventing a “severe humanitarian crisis” from unfolding at the same time.

“We must remember that the scientific reason for the Lockdown has been to allow us time to prepare for the peak of the pandemic. Covid-19 cannot be stopped, and many people will be infected over the coming weeks,” he said, also adding that “the key measure that must be used to determine levels is whether we are prepared to provide care to every person who needs it at the time they need it.”

The premier went on to outline the Western Cape’s hotspot strategy, providing a list of targeted interventions to prove that the entire province is ready to move to level 3 of the lockdown:

  • 5 million has been committed towards Covid-19 related expenditure across the Western Cape
  • A dedicated Coronavirus Provincial Hotline has been established.
  • The conversion of the CTICC into a temporary hospital is well underway. In total, this facility will include 4 wards.
  • 200 admissions and 200 discharges will be managed per day during the peak
  • Additional temporary hospitals along the R300 in the Metro, in Khayelitsha and in the Cape Winelands will be opened to provide an additional 616 beds.
  • Apart from the 12 already available, 18 testing and triage centres have been opened to provide additional support at these facilities.
  • There are currently 3888 Community Health Workers operating across our province, with a further 464 due to start work soon.
  • The number of tests conducted has increased from 7 975 on the 1st of April to 94 275 by the 18th of May.
  • An online screening tool has been established which has assisted in screening 62 200 people to date.
  • 1 645 volunteers have been recruited to support healthcare workers once this peak arrives.
  • R350 million worth of PPE has been ordered to help healthcare workers care for every sick person.
  • A further R550 million worth of PPE will be procured during the pandemic.
  • To date, 86 129 flu vaccinations have been administered - 65 670 vaccinations to vulnerable groups of people and 20 459 vaccinations to healthcare workers.
  • The province has 432 ventilators available with an additional 100 units on the way.
  • There are 19 Quarantine and Isolation facilities available offering 2365 a total of beds.
  • an additional 9 facilities will be established, adding an additional 2292 beds.
  • The Red Dot Transport Service as been launched. This ensures that 100 minibus taxis are available to transport healthcare workers home at the end of their shifts at 19h00.
  • This will also serve to safely transport those who test positive for Covid-19 to facilities if they cannot isolate safely at home and others to quarantine facilities should they need it.

Winde says that the province has also taken the necessary steps to help businesses and employees during this time, as well as to ensure that more of the economy can open safely.

  • The Covid-19 Contact Centre for business has been launched to support businesses by answering their questions to ensure business continuity during the pandemic. Businesses in need of assistance can visit supportbusiness.co.za or email [email protected].
  • Assistance in helping to prepare businesses to adapt to the “new normal” has been provided by preparing Covid-19 health guidelines. The guidelines can be found here.
  • A range of information resources is available for employers and their staff to utilise in workplaces. This includes posters, checklists, and decals, to remind people to adhere to the health guidelines to stop the spread of the virus. These can be downloaded on the Covid-19 website: westerncape.gov.za/resources
  • A dedicated online PPE marketplace has been launched to help businesses to procure the necessary PPE required to protect their employees. This platform helps small and large PPE manufacturers to promote their product ranges, and businesses to secure masks and other PPE. The PPE marketplace can be found at supportbusiness.co.za/marketplace
  • An online forum has been established where members of the public can submit any complaints they might have against businesses not complying with Covid-19 health and safety guidelines. If you believe that a business is not following the health guidelines in place to stop the spread of Covid-19, you can report it using this online form: westerncape.gov.za/covid-19-business-safety-complaint-form
  • JUMP, a smartphone app for entrepreneurs, has been launched to provide the opportunity to assess their unique business finance needs, receive recommendations on the appropriate funders and products available, and assist them with their funding readiness and application process. Learn more about the app here https://tinyurl.com/y6wp2ga5
  • A weekly webinar series, #GoDigitalWC, has been created to help leading experts in digital technology and business transformation to present ideas and advice for SMMEs on how they can adapt and innovate during the Coronavirus crisis.
  • Free digital skills training courses are now available online through the I-CAN Learn platform. Anyone interested in learning new digital skills can visit the I-CAN Learn website.
  • Digital and technology experts are encouraged to volunteer for the Tech Volunteer programme. This is aimed at matching industry experts with businesses that need their digital expertise.
  • The Covid-19 support finder is available to help businesses navigate and access the many support funds available to them. This online tool asks five easy questions, ranks the answers against pre-determined criteria, and provides a list of funds that your business may qualify for. The process takes under a minute. Find out more at supportbusiness.co.za/covid-19-support-finder
  • 100 000 cloth masks have been procured and distributed to agri-workers across the Western Cape. Also, a donation of 1000 litres of hand-sanitiser produced by the repurposed Distell’s Monis Production Plant has been facilitated.
  • A further 35 198 face masks have been dispensed to agri-workers in the Witzenberg region.
  • Communication material for agricultural communities has been created to assist in amplifying messages in rural communities through radio.

To ensuring that people can get to work and other destinations safety, these measures have been put in place.

  • A new USSD “quick code” system has been launched. This enables public transport users to send free feedback using their cell phones. This is to give users a voice in the fight to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on public transport.
  • The new USSD system enables the Department to keep improving its response by gathering information from public transport users to establish whether public transport operators to comply with regulations and best practice by distributing masks, gloves, and sanitiser.
  • Since the lockdown started, the Department has been engaging in public and transport operator education in partnership with bus operators and taxi associations. This has established an effective system for monitoring Covid-19 hygiene in public transport interchanges.
  • PPE has been distributed to public transport operators.
  • A donation of 10 000 litres of hand sanitizer was facilitated from Distell to the MBT industry, along with a further 500 500ml units of hand sanitizer from SA Taxi Finance and from DMC Source to the MBT industry.

To create public awareness of the key behaviour changes needed to fight the pandemic. Read more about the Premier’s detailed plan for the Western Cape Here: https://tinyurl.com/ybekz8pw

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