Troubles double as pandemic surges

The Western Cape Department of Health says it has a plan to deal with Covid-19 hotspots in the province.

In less than two weeks, the number of Covid-19 cases have more than doubled in several wards in greater Milnerton, and councillors and residents are worried.

A provincial government report on Monday June 1 gave a suburb-by-suburb breakdown of cases. It followed a May 20 report showing Dunoon was a hot spot for the virus.

According to the latest report, cases in Ward 55 have risen from 61 to 150 in less than two weeks. The ward includes Brooklyn, Rugby, Lagoon Beach and Milnerton.

Ward 4 includes Summer Greens, Joe Slovo, Milnerton Ridge and Sunset Beach. Cases there climbed from 41 to 113.

Two weeks ago, Ward 107 recorded 64 cases. It now has 128. Ward 107 includes Parklands, Sunningdale and Table View.

Dunoon, which is part of Ward 104, now has 218 cases (up from 139).

Homing in on specific suburbs, the report notes cases in Parklands have shot up from 34 to 86, from 16 to 43 in Brooklyn and from 22 to 46 in Milnerton.

Fay Vogel, of the Brooklyn, Ysterplaat and Rugby Residents’ Association, is not surprised by the numbers. She said Brooklyn was operating on level 1.

“There is no social distancing. This weekend, there was a funeral and over 200 people attended. SAPS eventually dispersed them, but they just gathered elsewhere. Also, people are travelling more now so they are spreading the virus faster and further.”

People were getting together and not wearing masks, she said.

“We’ve reported to authorities, but we get no compliance from them. I’m sure by next week, the numbers will have doubled again. We just have to wait and see.”

Ward 113 councillor Joy Solomon said her constituents were very aware of the risks and prevention strategies.

“Chat groups are updated daily, and, if in doubt, they will consult on whether something is allowed or not. In this manner, residents mostly self-police themselves with few exceptions. This has contributed to the very low figures we see on the City website. Self policing and adherence to social distancing and sanitising will continue to control the spread of Covid 19.”

Ward 113 covers many areas including Flamingo Vlei, Killarney Gardens certain parts of Parklands and Table View.

Dunoon ward councillor Lubabalo Makeleni said people were ignoring the lockdown and carrying on like there was no pandemic.

Dunoon resident Themba Govu said things had only gotten more out of hand following the lifting of the alcohol ban.

“There were more people out in the streets at all times of day and night. We don’t know yet, but trust me, by next week, we will have double or even triple the amount of positive cases in Dunoon.”

The provincial Department of Health’s spokeswoman, Natalie Watlington, said Dunoon had been prioritised for a government intervention strategy in virus hot spots. The plan includes multiple responses:

– Health response – including case management, community screening and testing and the appropriate referral for quarantine and isolation.

– Economic response – including assisting and mapping businesses, ensuring social distancing in the workplace and places of economic activity, and the following of workplace protocols.

– Safety response – including SAPS, the provincial government and City of Cape Town traffic deployment and law enforcement.

– Food security and humanitarian response – including provincial departments of agriculture, social development and relevant City of Cape Town initiatives.

– Places and spaces response – that is led by the Department of Human Settlements and its interventions in informal areas in particular.

– Transport and public response – including restrictions on people’s movement and public transport.

As of Monday June 8, the Western Cape had 32 048 Covid-19 cases, with 798 deaths and 1156 people in hospital, 194 of those in ICU. There have been 19 101 recoveries.

Ms Watlington said the public should take all necessary precautions against Covid-19.

“This is done by wearing a cloth mask when in public, by keeping their distance, by following the golden rules of hygiene and by staying home as much as possible. In this way we keep our loved ones safe too,” she said.

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