Gauteng Health MEC, Bandile Masuku, says hospitals are preparing to receive more equipment and healthcare workers – with the province’s coronavirus peak expected in the coming weeks.
Gauteng has recorded nearly 50 000 coronavirus cases with about 13 000 recoveries.
At least 282 people have died from COVID-19 related illnesses in the province.
Masuku has dispelled rumours that there are insufficient hospital beds to deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases, saying more hospital equipment is being made available.
“At the current rate yes, but we have determined that there will be a gap towards the end of July/beginning of August. In that gap, we are in the process of putting up field hospitals. They have already started putting up the hospital beds.”
“We have been continuously contracting and employing nurses and doctors throughout our facilities for those who are hard-pressed with patients and this is a process that is not going to stop. We will be continuously engaging all avenues that are possible,” explains Masuku.
Masuku should a harder lockdown be introduced in the province, the regulations will apply to all areas not just coronavirus hotspots.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura has said he is consulting over this.
Professor Steve Moeng from Johannesburg’s Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, who is also a contributor to the Gauteng Coronavirus Command Council, has raised concern about alcohol abuse in the province and how it contributes to the strain in hospitals due to COVID-19 admissions.
Moeng says it’s unfortunate that the number of trauma cases has also risen since the ban on the sale of alcohol was lifted on June 1.
“Most of the trauma is related to how we drive on the road and unfortunately it’s related to the element of alcohol. I’m afraid alcohol contributes to trauma, and we need to deal with that. Our number show, since we have moved to level 3, those numbers have gone to 80-90% of what we are normally see in trauma. We cannot afford to deal with multiple pandemics at the same time,” Professor Moeng says.
Moeng says health workers are the ones who bear the brunt of the rising number of patients seeking healthcare.
“We had found ourselves up to mid-April, being able to cope with only one ward. That one could deal with PUI’s and it could also deal with COVID-19 positive patients. In the past 10-14 days, what we have seen coming in, is that we have grown from that one ward to more than seven dedicated wards that are dedicated to PUI’s (Person Under Investigation) and COVID-19 positive cases.”
“Every day you need to be able to sit down and look at the patients coming in and figure out the best way of being able to accommodate them on the field.”