GARDEN Route residents have been keeping their eyes on a fast-moving ball as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has gained significant momentum over the past few weeks.
Whereas Bitou Municipality reported 16 cases and 15 recoveries 10 days ago, that figure had more than doubled by Tuesday June 23, with 37 cases recorded.
At 1pm on June 14, Knysna registered 88 confirmed cases with 59 recoveries; these figures climbed daily to 91 (62 recovered) on the 16th, and 95 (64 recovered) by June 17.
By Friday the 19th, Knysna had crossed the 100-case mark with 105 Covid-19 infections (68 recovered); on the 23rd, the total had reached 120 (81 recovered).
According to a statement last week, Knysna Municipality had taken preventative action two days earlier, when the town was declared a Covid-19 hotspot after a June 17 meeting of the local Joint Operation Centre.
In fact, new Knysna mayor Ricky van Aswegen said that Garden Route District Municipality as a whole had been declared a hotspot, and was one of five districts that had been identified as such within the Western Cape.
Government defines a ‘hotspot’ as a district with more than five cases per 100,000 persons. ‘Areas of vigilance’ have less than five cases per 100,000 people, as do ‘emerging hotspots’, which are characterised by a rapid rise in new cases.
Western Cape Health spokesperson Nadia Ferreira on Tuesday confirmed Knysna had recorded three C19-related deaths, and Bitou one. For reasons of privacy, no further information on these local victims could be made available.
“By June 22, Bitou had 34 cases with 17 recoveries and Knysna had 118 cases with 71 recoveries. Community Health Workers have to date screened 27,368 people, of which 75 were referred for testing.
“Patients who are unable to isolate or quarantine at home are referred to the Petro SA West Camp, where they are able to safely isolate or quarantine in a comfortable and secure environment,” said Ferreira.
This Mossel Bay facility currently accommodates 33 people, of which 31 are in isolation and two in quarantine. One of these patients hails from Knysna. Ferreira concluded that Knysna Provincial Hospital currently had no coronavirus-related admissions.
Bitou Covid-19 Response Team leader Dr Nicky Whiteman said that the isolation centre they had prepared over the past months at Piesang Valley Hall was ready to deal with local residents who had contracted the virus and could not self-isolate at home.
“We also have 70-odd days’ worth of food left to distribute among our neediest communities, while funds remaining after the acquisition of personal protective equipment and medical stock will be used for emergencies,” said Dr Whiteman.
Regular updates on confirmed C-19 cases along the Garden Route and beyond are posted here and on the CXPRESS Facebook page.