Here’s how you can help hospitals during the third wave, and it’s not about booze

30 June 2021 - 08:24
By TimesLIVE
Mediclinic and all other healthcare resources are facing the increasing impact of the third surge in Covid-19 infections. File image
Image: Emile Bosch Mediclinic and all other healthcare resources are facing the increasing impact of the third surge in Covid-19 infections. File image

Strong demand for hospital beds is evident in four provinces, including the Covid-19 third wave hotspot Gauteng, says Mediclinic.

Increased demand for care is also noted in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Western Cape.

“This demand is being experienced across much of the industry as a result of the increase in patient numbers and severity of patients’ conditions, and is expected to continue in the coming weeks,” the hospital group said.

For now, it is managing the demand.

“It is important to note that while ICU and high care capacity may vary from hospital to hospital depending on the number of licensed beds, not all Covid-19 patients require ICU care or mechanical ventilation. Many admitted patients are successfully treated with supplemental oxygen and other supportive treatment modalities. Mediclinic has capacity within its medical wards to assist patients in this manner.

“Patients arriving at any of our emergency centres follow the triage process in which clinical priority is determined. Urgent cases will be stabilised and admitted, or transferred to another suitable facility to ensure they receive the appropriate care.”

Its staffing was boosted during previous waves, said Mediclinic.

“Additional training was provided to upskill nursing staff from other units to assist in pressure areas such as ICU and high care. We continue to liaise with healthcare staffing agencies to assist in supporting our facilities with additional capacity where needed.”

However, due to the fast-spreading Delta variant, Mediclinic cautioned the third surge “has been dramatic and far more significant in volume in Gauteng than the previous waves”.

“It is important for the public to note these resources are reaching capacity, and personal behaviour which prevents person to person spread is key to reduce the demand and allow healthcare providers to best allocate these resources.”

Impact of booze ban on admissions

Mediclinic said it has “not experienced a significant change in alcohol-related admissions to our emergency centres when alcohol bans have been implemented or removed during previous surges”.

“We do not foresee the recent ban impacting on our emergency centre admissions.”

What we can do to slow rate of infections

Mediclinic advises the public can relieve pressure on facilities supporting severely impacted patients by:

  • universal masking, social distancing, avoiding closed spaces with poor ventilation and regular hand hygiene;
  • surface cleaning;
  • avoiding social gatherings outside an individual’s direct family circle;
  • anyone not feeling well must remain at home to avoid further risk to community members;
  • vaccinate.