The recent installation of 1 500 oxygen points at rural hospitals and the extension of work contracts of frontline healthcare workers has given the Eastern Cape Provincial Government confidence that it is equipped to effectively handle the ongoing third COVID-19 wave.

“However, that’s just half the battle won. We still rely on our people to continue playing their part to ensure the success of our resurgence management plan,” said Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, during a COVID-19 update on Thursday.

“We are optimistic that our province will have a low peak during the third wave.”

Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, the province lost 12 000 people to the virus. Mabuyane revealed that in the past 48 hours the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro registered 600 infections a day, the Sarah Baartman region 200 cases a day and the Buffalo City Municipality 100 cases a day.

“What is important for people to know is that our health system capacity to cope with the surge is much better compared to how it was during the second wave,” he said.

Oxygen points and vaccination rollout

To date, the province has registered over 900 000 people for vaccination with 500 000 of them being in the over 60 age category.

More than 658 000 doses have been administered so far, with 125 000 of these being Johnson and Johnson and 533 000 being Pfizer jabs.

“This July, we targeted the elderly at social grant pay points. In August, we will shift to rural communities and in September the target is to complete the second dose vaccination of the elderly and also to complete the first dose vaccination of over 50s,” said Mabuyane.

Looking ahead, Mabuyane said the backbone of the province’s strategy is to achieve population immunity to break the chain of transmission, prevent mass hospitalisations and deaths and, most importantly, to prevent future waves.

“We are of the view that by August, the NCCC [National Coronavirus Command Council] should be in a better position to review the current Level 4 restrictions,” said Mabuyane. – Health-e News