GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - The number of active Covid-19 cases in the Garden Route has increased slightly, while vaccination of the over-60s is gaining momentum.
As at Tuesday 1 June, the district has 372 recorded active cases with each town's numbers as follows: George 105, Mossel Bay 105, Oudtshoorn 62, Knysna 45, Bitou 36, Hessequa 15 and Kannaland 4. A week ago, there were 274 active cases, and the two preceding weeks 322 and 294 respectively.
A total of 36 792 Garden Route residents over 60 have registered for vaccination. The pace of registration in George has picked up and 49% (7 849) are now registered, compared with 33% a week ago.
The Western Cape Health Department is continuing with vaccination outreaches at old-age homes and retirement villages this week, but has also opened the Harry Comay vaccination centre in Mandela Boulevard, George, the Oudtshoorn Hospital and Plettenberg Bay Town Clinic for other registered residents over 60, according to district health spokesperon Nadia Ferreira.
"Up till 1 June, the department has vaccinated 1 184 persons in the district and Geneva Mediclinic 294. We wish to thank the public for their support. We understand the anxiety among those who have not received a second SMS after registration, but we can assure them that everyone will be vaccinated. We ask for patience as we open as many vaccination sites as possible, as vaccines are becoming available to us."
Mediclinic Geneva opens site
Vaccination also started at Mediclinic Geneva on Friday 28 May. Nursing manager Jeanita le Roux, who is overseeing operations at the vaccination centre, said their target is to vaccinate 288 people per day as from this week. The centre will accommodate only people who are registered on the national electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) and strictly by appointment. Retired nursing sisters have been called in to handle the vaccinations as the hospital needs to keep its staff ready for a possible increase in cases during the expected third wave.
Libraries help with registration
To assist people over 60 to register for vaccination, George Municipality has made available the public libraries.
Librarians assist with the registration process and there are computers available for residents who wish to register by themselves. They should bring their ID or ID number, medical aid details where applicable, and a working cellphone number.
Help is also available at the Cape Access Centre offices at Thembalethu Thusong Centre and Waboomskraal Thusong Centre.
System to manage walk-ins
In his weekly digicon last week, Premier Alan Winde said the Western Cape Government is working on a system to accommodate walk-ins at vaccination sites. "The scheduling system managed through the EVDS, controlled nationally, has not worked as well as it should, so some residents have received SMSes at too short notice, for places too far away from their homes, and many have not yet received any at all.
"This is causing a lack of trust in the system, with residents feeling they have no choice but to go to a vaccination site to get vaccinated without having an appointment," he said.
Some people have also missed their appointment, which made additional vaccine doses available at sites to vaccinate eligible residents who walk in. "We are now giving our local teams control over scheduling the number of people per site, based on the available capacity and vaccines. Although we are scheduling appointments, the SMSes will still come centrally via EVDS. By having some control over the scheduling, we are aiming to give between three and seven days' notice, which will increase appointments being met."
Adjusted level 2 lockdown
The sustained increase in new cases and hospital admissions in almost all provinces, and an increase in the proportion of Covid tests that are positive nationally, moved President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce adjusted level 2 lockdown regulations from 31 May.
The following additional restrictions are being implemented:
Hours of curfew from 23:00 to 04:00. Restaurants and bars need to close by 22:00.
Gatherings are limited to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. If a venue is too small, no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.
The wearing of masks remain mandatory.
Funeral "after tears" and after gatherings are still not allowed.
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