Imminent closure of Nasrec field hospital will not disrupt Covid-19 treatment in Gauteng

25 February 2021 - 17:13 By shonisani tshikalange
The Nasrec field hospital will be decommissioned. File photo.
The Nasrec field hospital will be decommissioned. File photo.
Image: Dino Lloyd/Gallo Images

Gauteng's health department says the closure of the Nasrec field hospital this weekend  will not have a major impact on the future treatment of Covid-19 patients in Gauteng.

The closure is due to an expansion of the existing public health-care system by 4,265 additional beds and “evidence-based, scientific advice given by the provincial modelling team”.

Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said on Thursday there were no longer any scientific, statistical or clinical reasons to keep the facility open.

“We have always been guided by science through the modelling team and by projections from the WHO in our comprehensive health response to the pandemic. The closure of Nasrec field hospital will not have a major impact in the treatment of Covid-19 patients,” she said.

“The Gauteng department of health now has the capacity to operationalise 4,265 functional beds through its hospital infrastructure should the need arise.”

Mokgethi said future bed overload within hospital clusters would be managed through internal transfers between hospitals to relieve areas of shortage within clusters.

The field hospital was initially secured in April 2020 as a 500-bed isolation and quarantine site to accommodate those who could not self-isolate or quarantine at home. It was later expanded to include 1,000 beds for “priority 3 patients” informed by projected infection peak numbers anticipated for August 2020 based on modelling at the time.

Since opening, 1,658 patients were admitted to the field hospital: 1,254 were admitted for isolation, 117 for quarantine and 287 as priority 3 patients.

The department said some of the materials and equipment from the hospital would be repurposed for use at other health-care facilities to ensure value for money.

Mokgethi expressed her gratitude to the dedicated staff who worked at the facility.

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