Nurses and workers such as cleaning, security and kitchen staff are among the highest currently infected with Covid-19 in health-care facilities across the Western Cape. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA
Nurses and workers such as cleaning, security and kitchen staff are among the highest currently infected with Covid-19 in health-care facilities across the Western Cape. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA

Covid-19 cuts deep into Western Cape’s healthcare workers

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Jan 20, 2021

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Cape Town – Nurses and workers such as cleaning, security and kitchen staff are among the highest currently infected with Covid-19 in healthcare facilities across the Western Cape.

This was said by Department of Health head Dr Keith Cloete during the province’s weekly update on Covid-19 digicon.

There are currently 796 active cases of Covid-19 among healthcare workers (HCW).

The breakdown of those infected are: 62 doctors; 345 nurses; 20 radiographers; four pharmacists; and 365 others (security, cleaning, kitchen and other staff working at hospital settings).

Around 20% of all HCW have been infected, with a cumulative total of 8 367 infections out of 33 000 staff members, since the first wave in March 2020. Over 1% of HCW have succumbed to the virus across both waves.

Cloete said indicators show Covid-19 hospitalisations and oxygen use are showing early signs of a decline and all markers have indicated the province is coming out from the peak of the second wave. Hospital admissions across all the districts are also showing a decline.

The combined oxygen use in the province across the public and private sector is 72.8 tons per day, after a peak of 80 tons. This is, however, still above the maximum production capacity of 70 tons at the Afrox Western Cape plant.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, along with Premier Alan Winde and Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell, will be visiting the West Coast on Thursday.

The West Coast, which has shown a 1% increase weekly, is the only district experiencing an increase in Covid-19 cases, but with an expected decline towards the end of this week.

“Vaccines should be arriving towards the end of January or beginning of February, with HCW the first to receive,” Mbombo said.

She raised concerns over conspiracy theories and science-denialists spreading anti-vaccine sentiment among the public.

“It is the democratic and human right of an individual to have access to the benefit of the scientific intervention. However, it is not mandatory for anyone to take the vaccine if the person doesn't want to, but they must allow other people to be able to make use of the vaccine.”

Winde said: “We’re going to be challenged by Covid-19 this year; we are also going to be challenged by all of the other sides of recovery. Of course as a government, we continue looking at the economic side of recovery.”

Cape Argus

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