Yesterday, 3 August 2020, Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, met with stakeholders in the Breede Valley and Langeberg Municipalities. During the meeting Minister Meyer supported by Cape Winelands District (CWD) Mayor, Dr Helena von Schlicht and officials from the Departments of Agriculture and Health provided an update on the current status of Covid-19 in the two Municipalities.
Minister Meyer: “Our Covid-19 Health Hotspot Response in Langeberg and Breede Valley is implemented and coordinated holistically in line with the Western Cape Government’s Whole of Society Approach. I am concerned with the infection rate in both Langeberg and Breede Valley.”
The latest statistics reveal that by 30 July 2020 Breede Valley reported 2727 cases of which 287 were still active, 2370 patients recovered, and 70 deaths had occurred as a result of Covid-19.
During the same time, Langeberg reported 959 cases, 113 were still active, 814 patients recovered, and 32 deaths occurred.
Breede Valley and Langeberg reported recovery rates of 86% and 84% respectively.
An emerging trend is an increase in youth between the ages of 25-35 who are infected.
Minister Meyer: “The increase in the number of young people infected is worrisome. The level of non-compliance with the five golden rules, especially social distancing and the wearing of masks is a significant concern.”
The average rate of utilization at the Quarantine and Isolation (Q&I) Facilities in the CWD has increased from 29% to 57% over the last two weeks.
Minister Meyer: “I am encouraged that the utilization capacity in our Q&I Facilities have increased and urge those who have been exposed to or infected with the virus to make use of these facilities.”
Following a recent visit to Reeds Country Lodge, Dr Danie Theron who is responsible for the four Q&I Facilities in the CWD said:
“I am very grateful to have partners such as Reeds Country Lodge onboard. Patients at our Q&I Facilities are supported and made to feel welcome. Patients are visited daily by our professional medical staff. Access to Wi-Fi ensures that they can remain in contact with their friends and family.”
Twenty-year-old Kyle Stynder of Avian Park near Worcester who was recently discharged from a Q&I facility in the Cape Winelands explains:
“I do not know where and when I contracted the virus. I do know now that we must take the virus seriously. It is difficult and one gets seriously sick. We must wear our masks, keep social distances, stay at home and wash our hands.”
The other Q&I facilities in the CWD are situated at DuKloof Lodge, Montagu Country Hotel and Uitvlugt Guest House.
As has been the case in the rest of the Cape Winelands humanitarian support and food relief continue to be a key focus in the Breede Valley and Langeberg regions.
Both Municipalities received R850 000 from the Western Cape Department of Local Government to assist with food relief during the lockdown. Working in partnership with local NGOs, they are coordinating food relief initiatives across the CWD targeting the homeless, Early Childhood Development Centres and households in distress.
The Western Cape Education Department fed more than 112 000 learners during this period.
Minister Meyer: “I am delighted with the scope of humanitarian support and food relief provided in the Breede Valley and Langeberg. Breede Valley, in particular, has done a tremendous job of reaching out to vulnerable communities.”
Minister Meyer continues: “We do, however, have to shift the focus from food relief to food security. Our One Home, One Garden Campaign, provides a sustainable way to ensure that households can access nutritious food and earn an income from the selling of excess produce.”
Commenting on the engagement with the Breede valley and Langeberg Municipalities Dr von Schlicht expressed her pride in the team responsible for implementing the hotspot strategy.
Mayor von Schlicht: “Fighting the pandemic has placed us a journey of uncharted waters. Our staff in the CWD, have remained resilient and continue to develop new plans to fight the pandemic. I am so proud of them.”
Given the strategic position of Langeberg and Breede Valley within the Agricultural sector, these two regions will now focus on developing an economic recovery plan, slowing the spread, stabilizing the situation at our Old Age Homes and implementing behavioural change strategies to improve compliance to the five golden rules.
Mayor von Schlicht: ”The CWD is primarily an agricultural area. Agriculture is the building block that will pull our economy through. We must also remember that the biggest road infrastructure project in the Western Cape is happening in Langeberg.”
“Agriculture must take centre stage in the economic recovery of the Cape Winelands. Economic recovery is not possible without agriculture. We aim to save lives and livelihoods” concluded Meyer.
Cape Winelands District Health Team
Minister Meyer and Dr Lizette Phillips of the Department of Health
Minister Meyer with patients Kyle Stynder and Luwellen Jacobs and Reeds Country Lodge owner Brian Reed
Spokesperson for Minister Ivan Meyer
Tel: 079 990 4231