South Africa: Gauteng Gears Up to Weather COVID-19 Storm

With Gauteng as the official COVID-19 epicentre in the country after over taking the Western Cape on Wednesday, the province is boosting its bed, staff and oxygen capacity at its healthcare facilities to meet rising demand.

On Wednesday, Gauteng took the top spot as they country's epicentre, as it recorded 81 546 cases, 26 438 recoveries and 515 deaths.

In an effort to combat the exponential increase in cases, the province identified five field hospitals that will receive 3 920 additional general beds. These include NASREC, which will receive an additional 1 000 beds, Diepsloot 500, Soshanguve 500, Midrand 500, Daveyton 720 and Tshwane Show Ground 700.

An additional 1 575 beds are also in the pipeline for George Mukhari, Chris Hani Baragwanath and Ashanti Gold hospitals.

The Gauteng Provincial Command Council announced these plans during its weekly media update on COVID-19 on Friday.

The briefing took place with Premier David Makhura in absentia, following his announcement that he tested positive for COVID-19 and was in isolation.

Presenting the province's plans, Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku, said the additional beds are expected by the end of July.

To date, Gauteng hospitals have admitted 5 784 COVID-19 patients, 1 846 have been discharged, while 515 succumbed to the virus.

"Currently, 3 006 patients are admitted in hospital, 197 of whom are ventilated and 551 are on oxygen," said Masuku.

While the province's cases are high, Gauteng's mortality rate remains low.

According to Masuku, patients who succumbed to the virus presented underlying comorbidities, with hypertension as the biggest culprit, followed diabetes.

In preparation for the impending storm, the Gauteng provincial government said it is looking to boost early interventions such as oxygenation, fluid supportive treatment, prone position and blood thinning to reduce complications and curb mortality.

The provincial government has also roped in 440 health professionals, with an additional 400 nurses and doctors to be appointed next week.

"An additional 400 nurses and doctors are being appointed into the system. We are also working with the private sector to acquire all the required medical equipment for our health facilities to cope with the increasing numbers," said Masuku.

As the province enters the eye of the storm, Masuku urged the public to prevent the spread of Coronavirus by changing their behaviour.

"It is everyone's responsibility to play their part and take the necessary precautionary measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

"One of the best mechanisms to protect ourselves is to treat everyone that we meet as though they have tested positive for COVID-19 and maintain a 2 metre distance, adhere to the lockdown regulations and practice the golden rules of hand hygiene, good cough etiquette and wearing a mask," he said.

More From: SAnews.gov.za

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