Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize has outlined various strategies that have been put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections in Western Cape.
Mkhize visited the province accompanied by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday to assess the progress in setting up Covid-19 interventions.
“There is a lot of integration of strategies and approaches into the issues that have been raised. We have focused on our hotspot strategy; the issue of sub-division of districts into sub-districts for more intensive interventions.
We have already sent the team of Cuban specialists to come assist in the Western Cape. We have about 28 of them in this province. There have been other additional reinforcements.”
South Africa’s coronavirus death toll now stands at 848, with 651 of these having occurred in the Western Cape. The province currently has 3 848 beds available in both private and government-owned facilities, with a further 9 682 ready for activation (8 933 in the private sector and 749 in public). An additional 788 beds are available for those who have the capacity to pay for quarantine and isolation facilities.
Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, said on Thursday that the provincial government is currently negotiating to contract 300 private ICU or high-care beds as part of its Covid-19 response. This follows a tariff agreement between the private healthcare sector and the health department.
“Critical care beds will, however, remain under pressure in the Western Cape which is why the province is taking steps to protect the most high-risk groups. It is vitally important that everyone plays their part in slowing the spread of this virus, especially to protect those most vulnerable, including the elderly and those with co-morbidities,” said Winde.
Mkhize said quarantine and isolation strategies need to be strengthened.
“The area that we’ve identified as needing a lot of strengthening in the provincial strategy is the issue of quarantine and isolation. This is the area that I think we need to focus on strongly to ensure that we can cut the cycle of infection,” Mkhize said.
“A lot of discussions have gone into this and we’ve seen how various departments have come together…who have offered additional beds so we can reach the numbers that we need.”
Mkhize said there is still a need for more dedicated Covid-19 beds.
“We need to push to up to 30,000 beds. The focus has got to be on those who have turned positive in the past two weeks; that’s where the large source of infection is coming from.
We are not only dealing with positive cases; we are also dealing with the contacts. This is the area where we believe we are going to make a concerted effort to break the cycle of infection,” he said.
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