Coronavirus: Gauteng Prepares Health Infrastructure for COVID-19 Peak

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Work is underway to prepare Gauteng’s public health infrastructure for the period when the COVID-19 pandemic may peak.

With Gauteng as the country’s epicentre, with 930 of the 2 506 confirmed cases, the province has cleared some of its existing hospitals and declared them COVID-19 facilities.

“This has helped us to make available 555 standard beds and 308 ICU beds. We are also putting up new permanent wards in Kopanong, Jubilee, Chris Hani Baragwanath and George Mukhari Hospitals. This will add 800 new beds, which will be used for different purposes.

“This intervention will help speed-up our existing plans to increase capacity in these facilities, using alternative building technology,” said Gauteng Premier David Makhura, on Thursday.

Makhura outlined the measures at the Gauteng Provincial Command Council’s weekly media briefing on measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its impact.

The Premier attributed the province’s ability to undertake massive preparations to flatten the curve during the lockdown.

On Tuesday, the Health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku, unveiled the first phase of the NASREC facility, which will have 500 new beds and will be used for both quarantining and isolation.

All these interventions will create an additional 2 163 beds, which will be used for different purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

This week, the province is due to receive a generous donation of 30 000 units of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Bank of China.

“We currently have six weeks’ worth of supply based on the current usage and we will continue to procure more stock,” said the Premier.

While the lockdown has significantly slowed down the infection rate, five Gauteng residents have passed away due to COVID-19.

“On behalf of the provincial government and the people of Gauteng, we send our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. May their souls rest in peace,” said the Premier.

Currently, 101 infected patients have been hospitalised, 15 of whom are in ICU. This means 1.6% of all those infected have required intensive care. 

GP boosts screening and testing

Gauteng has beefed up its contact tracing, scaled up the capacity to screen and increased the number of people tested.

Out of the 6 431 identified contacts who were traced and put under isolation or quarantine, 2 394 have now been cleared of COVID-19.

“The remaining 4 037 remain under medical surveillance by our team of tracers until they are cleared,” said the Premier.

Since 31 March 2020, Community Health Workers (CHWs) and health professionals have screened 196 421 people, with 2 591 being referred for testing, which was conducted.

Screening and testing is focusing on areas of high density of contacts, whether in suburbs or townships and high vulnerability. – SAnews.gov.za

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