The Western Cape has become South Africa’s new epicentre of the coronavirus, jumping ahead of Gauteng in total number of cases.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has attributed this to the province’s “more rigorous testing approach”.
According to national statistics released by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Thursday evening, 32.4% of the country’s 3 953 cases are from the Western Cape, where 1 279 cases were recorded.
The Western Cape jumped ahead due to 200 new cases reported, the highest number of new cases by quite a margin.
KwaZulu-Natal recorded 40 cases, the Eastern Cape 40, Gauteng 28, and one in North West. The other provinces had no new cases.
Mkhize also announced that the Western Cape had 28 deaths.
According to the figures released by the Western Cape government on Thursday, as at 17:00 on Wednesday, the vast majority of cases – 954 – are in the Cape Town metropolitan area. The Cape Winelands District Municipality followed with 89 cases, and the Garden Route had 60. No cases were recorded in the Central Karoo District Municipality.
Western Cape cases by municipality:
As at 17:00 on Wednesday, there were 236 recoveries in the province, 892 active cases, 53 patients in hospital, of which 23 were in intensive care units.
The tests conducted in the province stood at 21 077.
By Thursday, a total of 143 570 Covid-19 tests had been conducted nationwide, according to Mkhize’s information.
On Friday, Winde said in a statement that, since the start of April, the province’s community screening teams have reached over 150 000 people in communities across the province.
“Over the past week, nearly 9 000 tests have been conducted in the province as part of our active case finding approach to make sure that we identify every person who might have been infected with Covid-19 as quickly as possible,” he said.
Western Cape cases by districts:
“We have embraced testing because if we know someone is Covid-19 positive we can ensure that they isolate, and we can stop the spread of the virus to others.
“We can also follow up with their contacts immediately and start the process all over again. It also means that we can care for those who might be very sick because of the virus.”
He said the screening and testing teams are deployed based on data which actively identifies and follows the pockets of infections within communities.
“We identify these pockets whenever we confirm a Covid-19 case, and our rigorous contact tracing teams track their previous movements and contacts.”
He said many of these referred tests were reported on Thursday, bringing up the new infections considerably.
“I understand that our residents are worried as they see the number of new laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases grow rapidly in the Western Cape, but this is a natural result of our more rigorous testing approach,” Winde said.
Cape Town metro cases by sub-districts:
“Our strategy is to do screening and testing even more rigorously. This is the best way to contain the virus and to flatten the curve.
“We are going to face a very challenging time in the weeks and months to come. The lockdown has helped, but it has not stopped the virus. The peak is still to come, and many people will be infected by Covid-19.”
Winde welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Thursday evening that the country will move to slightly more relaxed restrictions on 1 May.
“For our part, we will work with the national government to ensure that, once implemented, the new approach is effective in stopping the spread while still allowing for necessary economic activity to resume,” Winde said.
“While it may be tempting to see these relaxed regulations as a lifting of the lockdown, we call on all residents to continue to abide by the rules, which are in place to ensure that we are able to limit the spread. The new regulations place additional responsibility on our citizens to stop the spread.”
*Note, due to different reporting times, the provincial numbers and national numbers will vary by a few cases on a given day.