KZN health department closes most of its Covid-19 field hospitals

12 October 2020 - 15:57
KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said on Sunday that most of the province's temporary field hospitals had been shut.
KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said on Sunday that most of the province's temporary field hospitals had been shut.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The KwaZulu-Natal health department has closed most of its temporary field hospitals that were erected to help permanent facilities cope with Covid-19 patients.

Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu told journalists on Sunday that the majority had been shut, with the exception of the temporary or alternative structures which had put into permanent facilities.

“Those three are in Clairwood, iLembe district and Ngwelezane hospital in Empangeni,” she said.

The MEC said the department would continue to use those “for as long as we are given authority to do so”.

“When you look at those facilities, they have a lifespan that can extend to 15 years. It is no secret that we don’t have enough beds in most of our hospitals. We now have an added advantage in these three facilities in particular. If we could use those as part of our infrastructure, we would really appreciate it. That is being looked at,” she said.

Simelane-Zulu said field hospitals like the one erected at the Royal Agricultural Show Grounds in Pietermaritzburg had been closed and officially handed to the owner.

“We had a few hotels and lodges that we were using ... The majority of them have been closed. We have a few of them that we will be closing in the next couple of days.”

On the issue of infections in the province Simelane-Zulu said she was concerned about the fluctuation in figures.

“We have now been consistently fluctuating and that is a serious worry, because when you look at the World Health Organisation guidelines you are seen to be Covid-free only once you have consistently or gradually been going down,” she said.

“We are not necessarily seeing that. In the past week we have had two-digit numbers [new cases], but we have also had three-digit numbers in the same week. That comes with the issue of behaviour. Had our people been adhering to the regulations as requested, we would be consistently going down.

“At this point we should be steadily reaching single-digit numbers.”

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