Western Cape rethinks Matric Rage as COVID-19 cases rise

The Western Cape government is closely monitoring events like Matric Rage, traditionally held on the Garden Route, as the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to peak in the region.

Premier Alan Winde said the province is worried about the rising number of infections, hospitalisations, with deaths now starting to show early signs of an increase.

According to Winde, cases have increased especially in George, Knysna, Thembalethu, Plettenberg Bay, Pacaltsdorp and Mossel Bay.

“There are currently 159 people hospitalised in the region in both private and public care, and 26 in critical care,” he said.

He said he was deeply concerned that over 760 people in the province are now hospitalised with COVID-19, having reached a low of under 500 in September.

According to the Western Cape Department of Health, 77% of the people who tested positive for Coronavirus did not know where they got it.

However, of the 23% who did, the majority (42%) said they had contracted it at a social event or from a friend, while 35% said they contracted it at home or from a family member.

“This points to the fact that social gatherings are the most likely cause of infection,” Winde said.

With the festive season drawing closer, Winde called on people to make safe choices that will protect themselves and their families.

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“We know that over the next few weeks, people will be moving around more – travelling across the province and between provinces for the festive season, holding year-end parties, spending time with family over Christmas, and celebrating the New Year,” Winde said.

The Garden Route is a major drawcard for thousands of matrics looking to celebrate the end of their school career.

The Premier said the province’s hotspot team and the Department of Health will ensure that events are compliant with regulations and safety protocols.

He said the teams in the Garden Route are working hard to manage the outbreak through community screening, increased testing, contact tracing and communication campaigns.

“While the Garden Route is a provincial hotspot right now, we are seeing small increases in cases in other areas across the province as well and we should all be taking precautions.”

As of Thursday, the Western Cape had 123 573 reported COVID-19 cases, 112 920 recoveries, 6 151 active cases and 4 502 deaths.

“Last month, I asked the people of this province to commit to a deal. The provincial government will continue to work hard on our recovery plan and to win back those jobs that have been lost. In return, we ask only that our citizens stay safe and flatten the curve,” said Winde. – SAnews.gov.za