MEC says Eastern Cape has shortage of doctors as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Nelson Mandela Bay has become the new epicentre for infections in the country, with positive cases growing at double the rate compared to the rest of the country

Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba says there are not enough doctors in COVID-19 wards and it is a big challenge for the province as it is trying to deal with the resurgence of the coronavirus. The Nelson Mandela Metro accounts for 42 percent of the country’s new infections.

The Department of Health says the virus is claiming the lives of more than one in four patients in the province and there are more than 11 000 active cases in the Eastern Cape.

Gomba says that although relief doctors are coming the province is still in dire need.

“We are lucky at this time, we have got doctors that have come on board, we have Doctors without Borders. Our brigade of Cuban doctors have also come through. We are drawing doctors from where they are not needed to Port Elizabeth. That does not suggest we have enough until we have a proper analysis of shortages of staff.”

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize is in the Eastern Cape today. He will lead an inter-ministerial task team on a two-day visit to assess the situation.

They will also conduct oversight visits to places where people congregate to see if COVID-19 protocols are being adhered to.

Nelson Mandela Bay has become the new epicentre for infections in the country, with positive cases growing at double the rate compared to the rest of the country.

SA latest COVID-19 stats:

On Wednesday, the country recorded 3 250 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of cases to date to 775 502.

The country also recorded 118 new COVID-19 related fatalities.

In a statement, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says most of the new deaths were recorded in the Eastern Cape.

“Regrettably, we report 118 more COVID-19 related deaths: 51 from Eastern Cape, 24 from the Free State, 7 from Gauteng, 2 from KwaZulu-Natal, 4 from Limpopo and 30 from the Western Cape,” says Dr Mkhize.

This brings the total number of deaths to 21 201.

The cumulative number of tests conducted to date is 5 355 068.