The Langeberg Municipality is extremely concerned about the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases and is preparing for the peak. In the past week from 18 - 24 June 2020, the 179 cases and two mortalities in the region has increased to a total of 350 cases and 9 deaths as a result of the pandemic.
On 24 June another 52 new cases was reported, marking the highest daily number of cases recorded in the municipality (since the first case on the 30th of March).
“The truth of the matter is that the Langeberg Municipality is half the population of George Municipality, but we have just as many active cases as they do,” Soyisile Mokweni, the Municipal Manager of Langeberg Municipality explains.
“Unless we do something drastic and fast, we will have to prepare for the tragic unknown and as a responsible municipality, we can’t underestimate the urgency or ignore the severity of this global pandemic.”
The Municipality launched a booklet on how ordinary funerals and COVID-19-related funerals in particular should be conducted in the municipality and at the 15 municipal cemeteries during the lockdown period.
“The national mortality rate is currently at 2% but in the Langeberg it is now at 2.5% so we need to prepare for any eventuality and this practical guide was developed to explain to bereaved families how the municipality would assist them during the lockdown and how we would meet our obligations towards them during this difficult time,” Mokweni explains further.
Summarising all relevant regulations and government protocols and directives, the municipality encourage all COVID-19 burials to take place within three days of the person’s passing and to adhere to the guidelines set out in Direction 8E of the Directions to Address, Prevent and Combat the Spread of COVID-19, issued by the Department of Health on in March.
These directives limit attendees to any COVID-19 funeral to “only close family members” and that the burial service should not exceed two hours.
Also, the Municipality is encouraging citizens and customers, as far as possible and practical, not visit municipal offices but to rather call the municipal hotline or general email address for communication and to pay municipal bills through EFT or banking apps.
Under Alert Level 3 of the Lockdown Regulations, libraries, municipal parks and swimming pools would remain closed.
Within the next few weeks, the Langeberg Municipality would also focus on stakeholder engagement and meet with the various businesses in the municipal area to ensure improved coordination of emergency responses.
“Since Alert Level 3 was introduced at the start of the month, various supermarkets, abattoirs and wineries had to close for deep cleaning and testing of staff after some staff-members contracted the virus. These closures have a dire impact on our local economy and we would like to see how we can work with them to find the best possible solutions to the many problems we face together,” Mr Mokweni said.
The Langeberg Municipality would also intensify its COVID-19 social behavioural campaign to educate the public about the dangers of the virus and how to prevent it from spreading.
“We will overcome this. We have to. But then it would mean that we need to do things differently while our people maintain physical distancing, wear face masks, wash and sanitize their hands regularly and leave their homes only for work or school and to do essential shopping or business. The lockdown is not yet over,” Mokweni concluded.