Makhura confident on tackling Gauteng’s second wave
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Cape Town – Gauteng Premier David Makhura has dismissed accusations that the Gauteng government is less prepared for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which is currently under way in the province.
On Tuesday, Makhura and his fellow members of the provincial command council gave an update on the provincial government's measures in tackling rising infections in the province.
The province has recorded 33 8071 cases, 6 170 deaths, and over 280 000 recoveries. Active cases sit at just over 50 000 and the fatality rate is at 1.8% – a figure the premier said was on the rise.
Makhura warned that the next two weeks would be challenging times for the province and that government expects infections to rise and along with hospital admissions.
For the past few days, Makhura has been criticised about the province's plans in tackling rising infections. The news of Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane being full sent concerns among members of the public about preparedness.
He said these concerns and accusation were not true and he was at pains to highlight the areas where the provincial government had focused on tackling the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Makhura said currently hospital admissions sit at 4 128, in the public sector admissions at 1 300 and in the private sector at 2 787. He said bed capacity was not overwhelmed yet.
He said 220 people were on ventilation and 384 on oxygen, and these numbers were being monitored constantly.
He further explained that when coming to bed capacity in the province, beds sit at over 4 000, with an additional 1 925 beds added to the province.
It is expected that by February up to 525 beds will be added to Gauteng hospitals in response to the second wave.
The premier said this was proof that capacity was available to tackle the second wave.
"Those who say we are less ready for the second wave are not being accurate. We have more staffing and more beds. Our modelling is being adjusted in terms of the second wave," he said.
Makhura also welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement on Monday night, which extended the country remaining on level 3 of the risk-adjusted lockdown.
He said that scientific modelling in the province had shown that if level 3 measures had not been implemented in late December, then active cases in Gauteng could have been at 90 000 instead of the current 50 000.
Makhura said even though the province had been criticised for keeping the Nasrec lease, which is being used as a field hospital, that decision was crucial as the facility was needed.
"We do not know how raging the pandemic will go in terms of increases. Even though we have doubled the number of beds than those we had we want to say, without pharmaceutical interventions, we might not be able to cope with the pressure," he said.
In a presentation by Professor Bruce Mellado, who is assisting in tracking coronavirus cases in the province, it was shown that Gauteng has 300 active hot spots. A peak in infections was expected in mid-February, Mellado said.