Cape Town - The CTICC temporary hospital, known as the Hospital of Hope, has started admitting its first Covid-19 patients on Monday, exactly one month after work on the site began.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said the temporary hospital is the biggest Covid-19 field hospital in Africa, and was completed in just four weeks. He explained that the Convention Centre sponsored the rental of the site allowing the Western Cape government to turn its four halls, and the service yard into a four ward facility, which will be staffed by more than 900 people when all phases are operational.
"A total of 10 patients will be admitted to the facility today. As the hospital is a new facility, additional beds will be activated in a phased manner until the entire hospital is fully operational.
"Patients who are in recovery but still require medical care will be treated at the hospital until they are well enough to go home. Healthcare facilities at the hospital include apparatus to administer oxygen, a digital X-ray machine, physiotherapy areas as well as an on-site pharmacy.
"The hospital will be a place of healing for many, and has for this reason been named The Hospital of Hope," Winde said.
The first patient to be admitted was a 75-year-old man from Mitchells Plain. Of the 10 patients admitted today, five were men and five women. The 75-year-old man was the oldest patient admitted, while the youngest was a 31-year-old man from Philippi.
The other patients are from Gugulethu, Crossroads, Portlands, Lenteguer, Sea Ridge Park, Mandaly, Samora and Rocklands.
More than 100 people from the various contracting companies worked on the site, with the commissioning team consisting of 40 team members focusing on various areas including infrastructure, engineering IT, health technology and staffing.
The premier explained that the hospital was built in four phases including:
Planning and design
Construction and commissioning
Ward fitting and testing
The go live phase with phased activation of beds.
The hospital was officially opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Western Cape government on Friday.
Winde added that the hospital was specially designed to reduce the risk of infection:
- Each bed is numbered and linked to a paperless system. Admissions, patient files and administrative work is handled on this system in order to reduce the risk of infection associated with moving paper documents and files around.
- A specialised waste management system, which incinerates medical waste, has been installed. A food lift will be used to move patient meals from the kitchens below the hospital to the hospital floor in order to protect those working in catering.
- The staff showers have been placed on a separate floor to the hospital and near to the staff exit, allowing them to shower and change directly before leaving the facility at the end of shifts to further protect them and their families.
- Patients in the hospital will not be allowed to have visitors due to the high risk of infection. However, the facility has made wi-fi available so that they can video chat with family members and loved ones. Winde said he believed this was important as patients "need the love and support as they recover".
The premier said many people in the Western Cape would become ill as the projected date for the peak of Covid-19 infections in the province, end of June or beginning of July, approached.
"This facility will create a space for people to recover, while at the same time allowing others to receive care in our other acute hospital facilities," Winde said.
He also revealed that two other temporary hospitals were currently still under construction in the province at Sonstraal in the Cape Winelands and at Brackengate along the R300.
"The Western Cape cabinet is currently considering the best ways to further expand the number of available beds in the province, including the option of a further 800 beds at CTICC 2."