Western Cape ramps up health-care systems as second Covid-19 wave continues

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Jan 12, 2021

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Cape Town - Western Cape Health is attempting to ramp up its health-care systems as it faces the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Premier Alan Winde, along with Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, conducted an oversight visit at Stellenbosch Hospital on Monday to inspect existing infrastructure and additional support added.

The Health Department earlier said it would focus on strengthening existing infrastructure, as opposed to creating from the ground up, as in the case of the CTICC Hospital of Hope. Health-care facilities face unprecedented pressure as Covid-19 hospital admissions increase.

The hospital’s rehabilitation centre and training facility had been re-purposed to add 25 additional beds for Covid-19 care.

Premier Alan Winde, along with Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, conducted an oversight visit at Stellenbosch Hospital on Monday to inspect existing infrastructure. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
A frontline care worker at the Stellenbosch Hospital, giving a Covid-19 patient medication during the visit by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and MEC of Health Nomafrench Mbombo. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Mbombo called it an innovation. “You don’t need to have hospitals outside in the field or in the stadium when you’re able to make innovations because all these wards, they converted a lecture theatre hall and also some of the old buildings that were not utilised during that time and it makes it easier when you’ve got another wave or even another illness, or probably when there is no more Covid-19 any more but you need additional beds, you can make use of those.”

Mbombo said additional staff had been appointed. “In the first wave, we had some of the Covid-19 cases among staff. For the second wave, we still have some but there are fewer cases now. The team has already developed the skills in terms of how they deal with this problem.”

Stellenbosch Hospital medical manager Dr Richard Davids said the 85-bed facility needed to take immediate steps to plan for in-patient care and mitigation strategies during a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Davids said the hospital had conducted more Covid-19 tests in the past month compared to during the initial stages of the first wave. He described the second wave as “vicious”.

Hospital visits for minor cases had dropped extensively, ensuring staff were not overburdened.

Winde said: “They have also adapted their testing centre to reduce the risk of infection during the swabbing process.”

Frontline healthcare workers at the Stellenbosch Hospital, doing their rounds in one of the Covid-19 wards during the visit by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and MEC of Health Nomafrench Mbombo. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Frontline healthcare workers at the Stellenbosch Hospital, doing their rounds in one of the Covid-19 wards during the visit by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and MEC of Health Nomafrench Mbombo. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Argus

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