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Too soon to tell if slight drop in Covid-19 infections means KZN has passed peak, says MEC

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
KZN health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu says the department has seen a slight decline in Covid-19 infections in the province.
KZN health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu says the department has seen a slight decline in Covid-19 infections in the province.
Image: KZN department of health

While it was “premature” to tell whether the province had passed its peak, the KZN health department had noted a slight decline in Covid-19 infections in the province.

Speaking during a public awareness campaign in KwaMashu, north of Durban on Monday, health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said: “I'm not a scientist, so I can’t really speak on whether we are past our peak.

“At face value, our highest infections so far has been 6,700 in one day.”

The MEC said this figure was recorded in the middle of last week.

“Since then our numbers have been declining … very slowly. The numbers are quite small but they have been declining nonetheless.

“At this point it would be premature for me to indicate whether we have gone past our peak or not, or if it is just a slump for now and it's going to go up again.

“Maybe in the next week or so we might have a proper sense of what is happening.”

Simelane-Zulu said both the private and public sector were overwhelmed.

“The private sector has a number of challenges. They are running out of beds.

“Some hospitals have requested permission from the department of health to put up temporary structures outside their facilities and we have granted that permission, as long as those structures are within the facility and they have clinicians to look after them.

“We have agreed because we realise they are under pressure and don't have enough beds in their facilities.”

She said some state hospitals, particularly in the densely populated district of eThekwini, were also under pressure when it came to beds for Covid-19 patients.

“In eThekwini we have close to 20 hospitals. Yes, some of them are struggling, but not all of them are full.

“We have decided that we are going to move around patients within the district, where it is necessary for us to do so.

“We have created a temporary structure at Clairwood Hospital.”

Simelane-Zulu said as of Monday, the structure had “only 95 patients and that is a 228-capacity structure". SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE reported on Monday that some patients would be moved from Wentworth Hospital to Clairwood due to pressure on Wentworth.

“We have created beds in what we are calling an EMS base. We have repurposed it and put oxygen in that base. We have not utilised that particular facility as yet, as we have not run out of beds in our different hospitals.”

The MEC added that two TB hospitals in the province would be used to house Covid-19 patients when needed.


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