Western Cape officials call for extra vigilance after ‘superspreader’ event
Nearly 90 people have contracted Covid-19 as a result of links to a ‘superspreader’ event in Cape Town, which includes 38 Grade 12 pupils. Western Cape authorities are now investigating this incident but urge individuals and communities to take personal responsibilities when it comes to the spread of the virus.
The main focus of Western Cape Premier Alan Winde’s weekly press conference was a bar, where 38 matrics contracted Covid-19. On Thursday, 15 October during the briefing held virtually, provincial officials stressed the importance of maintaining Covid-19 vigilance.
“We cannot relax,” said Nomafrench Mbombo, the Western Cape Health MEC during introductory remarks at the briefing. She urged hand washing, physical distancing, mask wearing and not touching common surfaces when out at gatherings. “It is crucial that we stick to these rules so that we make a point that we don’t go back [to a high number of Covid-19 cases]”, adding “It is in your hands”.
Mbombo said everyone has a responsibility to follow the rules in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Addressing the outbreak at Tin Roof Bar in Claremont, in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, Dr Melvin Moodley from the provincial Health Department said the alarm was raised when general practitioners in the area noticed increases in Covid-19 cases among 15-19 year olds.
These cases were all traced back to the bar which is popular with young people in the area.
Since then, there have been 89 Covid-19 cases linked to the event. Of these, 38 are matrics due to start writing their final exams soon.
Moodley said in total, 64 pupils and a teacher have been infected in the southern sub-district of Cape Town. Of that number, 44 were matrics (including the 38 tracked to the Tin Roof bar).
Winde said he had asked for an investigation into the incident.
“This is really to wake us up,” said the head of the provincial health department, Dr Keith Cloete, while he gave a situational update of Covid-19 in the Western Cape.
Over the past week, there had been an increase in cases, particularly in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. Infections have decreased in areas such as Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and the Tygerberg region. In the province, there would be a strong focus on surveillance from health authorities as well as strong messaging on collective and individual responsibilities, Cloete said.
By the last health update on Wednesday evening, the Western Cape had 112,605 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The province has seen 4,277 Covid-19 related deaths, with 2,818 active cases at the moment.
Beyond the outbreak, the department worried about more potential outbreaks going into the summer season.
“We’re all concerned,” said Cloete, adding that factors such as Covid-19 fatigue, people being on breaks and wanting to gather poses risks to outbreaks.
“We have to remain vigilant and will respond as things occur,” he said. DM
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