Scenario planning for the COVID-19 pandemic in the Western Cape forecasts that an estimated 9 300 people could die of the virus. According to the National COVID-19 Modelling Consortium, the peak of COVID-19 infections in the province are expected at the end of June or the beginning of July.

Approximately 7 800 beds are expected to be needed at the peak of the pandemic.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde hosted an online press conference outlining the updated COVID-19 scenarios for the province.

Director of the Modeling and Simulation Hub, Africa, Dr Sheetal Silal says the province needs about 1 500 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds.

“And this can be broken down between the non-ICU bed requirements and ICU bed requirements off approximately 6 300 non-ICU beds and 1500 ICU beds, leading to the projected total of 7 800. In terms of the mortality expected due to the epidemic, the projected fatalities are approximately 9 300 subject to an uncertainty range which can be seen on the plots.”

In the video below, smaller public hospitals in the Western Cape prepare for COVID-19 admissions:

COVID-19 testing backlog

On Tuesday, Winde expressed concern over a huge backlog in the processing of tests for COVID-19 in the province, which affects the rate at which results can be released.

According to Winde, there’s been a 400% increase in the number of tests conducted in the province since the end of April. He further said the province has a backlog of almost 18 000 tests, which needs to be processed.

“We still have an issue with the backlog in our tests which is very difficult because testing is your ability to measure and gives your ability to manage. We have already engaged and written to the President and engaged with the Minister of Health on this issue. Our backlog now stands at 18 000 and we really need find a solution to this. If you cannot measure, you cannot manage.”

Winde attributed the delays to a shortage of reagents and test kits, a problem that is being experienced globally.

In the absence of rapid test solutions, the decision has been to prioritise health workers and those at high risk of contracting the coronavirus, such as the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.

Despite these challenges, Winde threw his weight behind government’s decision to ease lockdown regulations and move to Level-3.

The Western Cape is the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa with 17 754 cases and 406 deaths.

In the video below, The Premier details Western Cape’s COVID-19 hotspots strategy:

Below is an infographic on Level-3 regulations.