There are more than 3000 people hospitalised in the Western Cape due to Covid-19, of whom 372 are in intensive care units, Premier Alan Winde said on Wednesday.
In a statement, he said the second wave appeared to be resulting in higher active case numbers, hospitalisations and daily deaths than during the peak of the first wave.
“We currently have over 3100 people hospitalised in both the private and public sector in the province, 353 of which are in ICU. Covid-19 and PUI [people under investigation for the virus] cases currently make up 40% of available acute general hospital capacity in both the metro and rural regions of the province,” said Winde.
According to the province, as at 13:00 on Wednesday, they had 3380 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 372 of them in ICU. The province has 36,805 active Covid-19 infections and has recorded 155 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 6667.
To deal with the pressure on healthcare facilities, Winde said that the province was in the process of recruiting more than 1300 healthcare workers, with many of them coming from extensions of existing short-term contracts and the rest being recruited.
“We have received over 500 applications as part of this recruitment drive and a dedicated team have been working throughout this festive period, contacting applicants to determine their availability and channeling information to the appropriate regions and districts for immediate placement,” he said.
Beds and staff
The province has also secured 103 staff members for the additional beds and wards at Lentegeur Hospital. The group included nurses, pharmacists and a physiotherapist.
Winde said that they had also approached the province’s military hospital for medical staff and had made provisions for additional beds.
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has once again appealed to residents to adhere to the lockdown regulations when bringing in the New Year on Thursday and Friday.
“We have had to shelve many of our traditions this year, for our own safety and that of our loved ones. It is a small price to pay when one considers the devastation that the virus has wrought on so many families in our country. I appeal to our residents and visitors to continue doing their bit to mitigate the risk of infection and transmission during this crucial period.,” said City mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith.
KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said that they were in the process of recommissioning field hospitals that had been decommissioned when the country experienced a drop in the number of Covid-19 cases. These include the Royal Show Grounds in Pietermaritzburg, which has a capacity of 254 beds.