Second Covid-19 case in Khayelitsha as premier starts mask-making drive
The massive Cape Town township of Khayelitsha has recorded its second case of Covid-19, Western Cape premier Alan Winde said on Thursday.
The new case was among 393 confirmed in the province, 321 of which were in the Cape Town metro.
“While infections have grown more slowly here than elsewhere, we are seeing trends which are cause for concern,” Winde said in his daily coronavirus bulletin.
“Last Sunday, we announced our first cases in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. We are also seeing an increase in the number of local transmissions and increasing admissions to hospital.
“As of this morning, 20 people in the Western Cape had been admitted to hospital, with seven in intensive care facilities.”
Winde said the Western Cape government was looking at a number of buildings that could be used as temporary health care facilities and quarantine and isolation sites.
“We are at an advanced stage in this process, and once we have completed all of the contractual matters, we will be making a further announcement,” he said.
Western Cape police commissioner Yolisa Matakata had told him certain types of crime had decreased during the lockdown, which enters its second week at midnight on Thursday.
“However, we have also seen criminal elements taking advantage of the lockdown, with an increase in certain other types of crime and school vandalism incidents,” said Winde.
“We are also concerned that the lockdown could result in increased incidents of domestic abuse which are not being reported as a result of the regulations being in place.”
The premier said a dedicated bus route to various hospitals had been implemented from Thursday to help health care workers get to and from work “safely and on time”.
Winde said the provincial health department had worked with leading SA scientists to provide clear advice on appropriate and safe use of masks to avoid contracting or spreading Covid-19.
“At the outset it is important to distinguish between medical masks, or N95 respirators, and cloth masks (either homemade or procured)," he said.
“One of the Western Cape department of health’s top priorities is to ensure that our front-line health care workers ... have the required N95 respirators and/or medical masks.
“There is a global shortage of these masks so we please urge all residents to not obtain or use these, so that we can ensure enough supply to the front-line health care workers in our hospitals and clinics.”
Winde said cloth masks, which could be made at home, could be widely used but it was important to do so properly. He offered the following tips:
- Wash your hands before applying and after removing a mask;
- Never touch the cloth part, never fiddle with it while wearing it, and refrain from touching your face;
- Wash cloth masks with warm soapy water and iron when dry;
- Place the mask with the correct side facing your nose and mouth and covering both well;
- Tie the strings behind your head, or if you are using elastic bands, make sure these are tight;
- Make sure it fits well. Move it around to get the best fit;
- When you take it off, undo the ties, and carefully fold the mask inside out, hold it by the strings/elastic and place the mask in a container preserved for washing the cloth mask;
- Wash hands thoroughly and dry before doing anything else; and
- You must have at least two cloth masks per person so you will be able to wash one and have a clean one ready for use.
Winde also published guidelines for how to make a cloth mask:
- A cloth mask typically comprises square pieces of cloth with three pleats that can cover the face from above the nose to below the chin and almost up to the ears;
- The outer layer should be made from thick weave cotton like denim, calico or upholstery fabric that can be easily washed;
- The inner layer(s) should be ordinary cotton, such as material used to make sheets;
- Between the layers, if possible add a laminate breathable layer of non-woven fabric which is washable at high temperatures — or something like a jacket lining;
- Do not use stretchy material with a loose weave, such as T-shirt material, as this offers no protection; and
- Attach strings or straps which can be tied behind the head.
“I want to call on the people of the Western Cape to only make cloth masks in line with our approved cloth mask standard — and to please make sure they follow these guidelines on their proper use,” said Winde.
“If you cannot make them properly or use them properly, it is safer to not use them at all.
“Many homes have the materials required and can make masks immediately. So make for your home — and then make more to donate to others who can’t make their own. I will announce where and how we can get those masks from you shortly.”