Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says the province’s health sector has taken steps to ensure it has extra hospital beds and oxygen tanks should there be a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 patients.

There are 46 000 known active cases in the province, with around 170 soldiers having been deployed to help enforce lockdown regulations in hotspot areas.

The Western Cape has recorded over 241 000 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and 8000 COVID-19-related deaths.

Winde says the provincial health sector has tried to ensure that adequate supplies have been secured to assist COVID-19 patients.

He says, “When the new virus strain was detected, we got our team to go back and have a look at what were the implications for us because basing our knowledge on the first wave, we knew that we had sufficient beds but with the much more aggressive second strain, we knew we would have high numbers and twice as many numbers as we did in the first wave. So we had to quite frantically make sure that we got extra beds and oxygen to the system. We’ve still got another 130 beds that we can push the button on that we haven’t as yet but we put in extra beds where we needed across the province.”

Below is the full interview with Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde:

Second wave

Last week, Western Cape health officials said the province is starting to show signs that it has entered the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Head of the Provincial Health Department Dr Keith Cloete said mortality data, however, continue to show an increase, with early signs of flattening.

He said it is now crucial to maintain a strong focus on behavioural changes to ensure containment.

In December, SABC News reported that the Western Cape healthcare system is under pressure:

INFOGRAPHIC: COVID-19 statistics in SA: