covid-19 in gauteng

Stock Image by KoalaParkLaundromat from Pixabay

COVID-19: Gauteng short of critical care beds to deal with anticipated demand

Gauteng needs to have created bed capacity of close to 10 000 by the time peak COVID-19 hospitalisation demand hits.

covid-19 in gauteng

Stock Image by KoalaParkLaundromat from Pixabay

The Gauteng health department says its currently short of the required number of critical beds it will need during the peak COVID-19 infection period.

The province – which is the highest populated in South Africa – has the most active cases of the coronavirus, having overtaken the Western Cape in the past week.

Gauteng health system not equipped to deal with COVID-19 bed demand

On Friday, the Gauteng Provincial Command Council held a briefing where, among other things, the region’s readiness for peak demand was addressed.

Professor Mary Kawonga – a public health specialist who has been roped in by the health department as a consultant – revealed that the beds available at critical care and general wards are not sufficient, according to the predicted demand in the medium as well as the long term.

The province has only enough beds to meet short-term demand for hospitalisation of COVID-19 cases.

She added that the health department needed to create additional bed capacity of over 1 500 before the end of the month, with an additional 8 000 required by September.

Hard lockdown looms in Gauteng 

With over 35 000 known active cases, the spike in COVID-19 numbers in Gauteng has raised great concern.

In terms of total reported infections, the province now accounts for almost 30% of the confirmed cases in South Africa.

The surge coincided with the country entering into Alert Level 3 lockdown at the beginning of June.

During Thursday’s briefing, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said there was a possibility that the province could revert to hard lockdown, which would see several sectors of the economy close once again.

Earlier in the week, national health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize said instituting another hard lockdown had not been discussed at national level as yet.

“There has not been any decision taken and certainly the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) does not take lightly a decision of that nature,” he said.

Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Health

Mkhize added that should hard lockdown be required, it would only affect certain areas.

“One of the challenges with Gauteng is the fact that you have different metropolitan areas which is one ecosystem. As we move into the future we need to be open-minded as to what our needs are.”

Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Health

Gauteng has 45 944 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 10 534 recoveries, and 244 deaths.