Gauteng health brings in 5,000 more staff, extra beds for third wave peak

02 July 2021 - 14:57 By iavan pijoos
Mediclinic and all other healthcare resources are facing the increasing impact of the third surge in Covid-19 infections. File image.
Mediclinic and all other healthcare resources are facing the increasing impact of the third surge in Covid-19 infections. File image.
Image: Emile Bosch

In a bid to cope with the rising number of Covid-19 patients, the Gauteng department of health has recruited more than 5,000 extra personnel and added more beds in their facilities.

The department's Dr Ntsakisi Maluleke said during a briefing the provincial department had roped in an additional 5,541 personnel to man beds.  

As of June 23, the seven-day rolling average of new admissions was 631, she said.

Maluleke said the average number of new admissions was approaching the peak of the second wave, but the province had not reached the peak of the third wave.

Maluleke said modellers initially predicted across both private and public sectors there would be a need for 6,000 beds to be able to respond to the third wave.

In a worst-case scenario, there had been a need to make available 8,000 beds to respond to the rise in infections in the province, she said.

But that had since changed when it was found that the country was battling the Delta variant. She said modellers recalculated predictions and found that the province needed 9,500 hospital beds available across both the public and private sectors.

Maluleke said a total of 1,322 beds had been repurposed by institutions in the public sector to respond to the demand for treatment. “As we see the need for hospital bed increases, we have been responding accordingly.”

The province now had 4,050 dedicated Covid-19 beds.

She said the total number of patients admitted on July 1 stood at 7,515 — 2,410 for the public sector and 5,105 for the private sector.

“Both the private and public sector bed occupancy rate is sitting at 91%.”

Maluleke said the majority of patients in the private sector were admitted in Netcare hospitals.

In the public sector, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital had borne the brunt in  Johannesburg. “They have been given additional human resources,” she said.

Maluleke said daily engagements were being held with Afrox, the largest gas supplier, to “troubleshoot” institutional oxygen security challenges.

She said the quality of the PPE provided remained a challenge, but was being monitored.

“We have a list of PPE that is essential and PPE that is non-essential and we are ensuring that essential PPE is available to reduce healthcare worker infections.”

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