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Gauteng health facilities to increase bed capacity as Covid-19 hospital admissions surge

Gauteng premier David Makhura says the number of Covid-19 infections in the province is climbing rapidly.
Gauteng premier David Makhura says the number of Covid-19 infections in the province is climbing rapidly.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

A total of 525 beds are expected to be added in Gauteng health facilities to deal with surging Covid-19 infections as more young people are being admitted to hospitals.  

This was revealed by premier David Makhura on Tuesday on behalf of the provincial command council.  

Makhura said in the past seven days, the infection rate in the province had doubled and the number of cases would not decrease soon

“We are expecting case numbers that will shoot to the roof [sic], given the nature of the new variant and intensity of the second wave. This is going to be impacted positively by the level of compliance in lockdown level 3," he said. 

Makhura said the province had recorded 50,000 active cases, the second highest in the country after KwaZulu-Natal.   

Disturbing images of packed hospitals have emerged on social media, including Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria. 

Makhura said the situation in hospitals was a concern, but they were not yet packed to capacity.

“We had a stable number of hospital admissions in our public facilities until December, when the number started to increase again. At the beginning of January, we were as low as 700 hospital admissions, in the public sector. Those numbers doubled ... and over the past seven days, they tripled to more than 2,700,” he said.

“If you ask what is happening in the private health sector, we are co-ordinating and working together and have admitted some of their patients.

“We are not yet at the level where our hospitals are full, but numbers are increasing quite rapidly.”  

Makhura said 4,129 people are hospitalised in public and private facilities. Of those, 220 are ventilated and 384 are on oxygen. 

The province was paying the price for gatherings held in December, mostly by young people in contravention of lockdown regulations.  

“What we are experiencing now is a combination of interactions people had in December, especially mid-December in the run-up to Christmas. Gatherings were taking place. Young people were the drivers of this. The message to young people is that this new variant is very deadly.” 


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