Limpopo load shedding

Image via Adobe Stock

Garden Route hospitals under severe pressure as 52 staffers test positive

The Garden Route has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases and according to the health department, hospitals in the area are taking serious strain.

Limpopo load shedding

Image via Adobe Stock

The Garden Route has seen a 26% increase in COVID-19 cases in the last seven days compared to the previous seven days. 

On Thursday evening, during a family meeting, President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned three areas where we’re seeing an alarming spike in infections — Nelson Mandela Bay metro, which was officially declared a hotspot, the Sarah Baartman District Municipality and the Garden Route in the Western Cape. 

According to Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts Communication Officer, Nadia Ferreira, areas of most concern are Bitou, Knysna, George and Mossel Bay. 

“We have also noted an increase in cases in Oudtshoorn and Hessequa,” said Ferreira. 


Oudtshoorn saw a 76% increase in active cases in the last seven days compared to the previous week and Bitou saw a 32% increase.


George Regional Hospital is currently under severe pressure, as patients from district hospitals are admitted there for more advanced health interventions. As of Friday 4 December, George Hospital has 67 COVID-19 patients admitted of which 22 are in high care. 

They also have 52 staff members who are currently infected by COVID-19. 

“The hospital is under immense pressure and we are trying to make space for as many patients as possible. We have already commissioned three additional wards to treat COVID-19 patients, all the while also ensuring we have capacity for other routine emergencies such as trauma cases,” said George Hospital CEO Michael Vonk.

The hospital uses a daily average of 2.6 tons of oxygen to treat patients, compared to the daily average of 356kg/day in May 2020 (pre-COVID-19) which is more than during the previous wave (max 2.2 tons /day).

Knysna Hospital is also under severe pressure. On 4 December alone, they had 40 patients admitted. 

“We have opened additional wards to accommodate the increasing number of COVID patients, and have recruited additional staff to assist. We are definitely under pressure, but have effective plans in place to deal with this surge,” said Medical Manager of Knysna/Bitou subdistricts Dr Andries Brink. 

Harry Comay Hospital in the Garden Route has converted two wards into COVID wards with an additional building, which was built during wave 1, which can take 20 patients. The hospital currently has 28 patients and testing sites across the district, especially in sub-districts with a rising number of cases, are also testing to capacity daily. 

Two additional National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) busses have been deployed to Knysna and George to keep up with the high volumes of tests needed.


Areas of most concern:

  • Mossel Bay: KwanonQaba, Hartenbos, D’Almeida and Heiderand.
  • George: Themabelthu, Pacaltsdorp, Parkdene, Rosemore, Borcherds, Blanco
  • Knysna: Smutsville, Concordia, Khayalethu
  • Oudtshoorn: Bridgeton
  • Bitou: Plettenberg Bay
  • Riversdale: Albertinia

“We urge residents to be safe this festive season. Avoid crowded places, close-contact settings and areas with poor ventilation,” added Ferreira.