90 cases, three hospitalisations as Covid-19 cases linked to partying Matrics rise

Covid-19 cases linked to an event at a Cape Town pub are on the increase.
Covid-19 cases linked to an event at a Cape Town pub are on the increase.
Image: 123rf.com/betonstudio

Covid-19 cases linked to the “super-spreader” event at a Cape Town pub are steadily rising, and by Thursday there were almost 90 cases recorded and a trio of hospitalisations.

Western Cape health department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said three people out of the 89 Covid-19 cases in the southern suburbs had been hospitalised, but one had already been discharged on Thursday.

“We are awaiting updates on the other two adults,” he said.

On Tuesday, Western Cape premier Alan Winde launched an investigation into the bar — which is understood to be Claremont nightclub Tin Roof — after preliminary data that indicated that of the 63 cases detected among young people in the area, most had emanated from an event at that establishment. About 37 of those infected were matric pupils who attend schools, most of them private, in the southern suburbs.

Winde said his office had been alerted that “the required regulations and safety behaviours were not adhered to in this case”.

Van der Heever said the department was continuing its provincial-wide awareness campaign which aimed at educating people on safe behaviour. “An important message is that young people also have a role to play in preventing new Covid-19 infections — even if they are at lower risk,” he said.

The Western Cape education department has written to all schools in the province “to alert them to the importance of ensuring young people behave in a way that keeps themselves and others safe”.

“The most important point to stress is that our best defence remains our behaviour. We cannot let our guard down and we must continue to wear our masks, avoid congregating in places where ventilation is poor, keep our distance and continue washing or sanitising our hands,” said Van der Heever.

This week several top schools in the southern suburbs cautioned parents and pupils that partying by some pupils could cost matrics their futures, as final exams start next week. They raised concerns about the large gathering at Tin Roof.

But Tin Roof has distanced itself from the allegations, with owner James Truter saying: “There’s been zero negligence on our part. The Saturday of October 3 was a normal trading day with no special performances or special event of any sort.”

On Thursday, Winde said that even though the Western Cape was not experiencing a “second wave” of Covid-19 infections, the province’s surveillance teams allowed the province “to hunt bushfires” through contact tracing, pattern identification and testing.

“It is this surveillance system which enabled the identification of the recent cluster of infections in the southern suburbs. This super-spreader episode is an example of what happens when we let our guard down and we don’t make the right decisions about our own safety and the safety of others. We have to prevent it from happening again,” he said.

The province, which in June tightened its testing regulations in the metro to only those at risk, including people with co-morbidities and over 55, has extended its testing criteria to include all those presenting with Covid-19 symptoms both in the Cape Town metro and the rural towns. Winde said The Covid-19 pressure has eased off considerably across the metro and rural public health facilities.

  • Public acute hospitals are decreasing their Covid-19 capacity and are reintroducing normal comprehensive clinical (non-Covid-19) services, running at an average of 75% occupancy rates.  
  • The 330-bed Hospital of Hope (Brackengate) has 27 patients and Sonstraal Field Hospital has one.
  • Oxygen utilisation has stabilised at an average daily use of 36% of available capacity. Winde said there was, however, an increase of cases in some districts linked to specific “bushfires”.  

“While hospitalisations continue to stabilise in the public and private sectors, private sector hospitalisations have not come down as quickly as in the public sphere.  Most of the new positive tests are emanating from the private sector,” he said.

TimesLIVE


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