Gauteng prepares for third wave by opening new hospital in West Rand
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Johannesburg - The Gauteng provincial government has prepared for the third wave of coronavirus by opening a new hospital in the West Rand.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced on Friday that the Gauteng province was in the grip of a Covid-19 third wave.
“Having seen over 1 000 cases a day we cannot afford to close down the province's economy but we definitely want to see an increase in restrictions,” said Makhura.
The premier was speaking during the official opening of a refurbished mining hospital in Carletonville on the West Rand with Infrastructure Development MEC Tasneem Motara and Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi.
The new hospital was opened following the commitment Makhura made in May last year to provide support to the mining industry to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The premier’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mhaga, said the facility was donated by AngloGold Ashanti mine and reconstructed by the Gauteng Provincial Government.
“The hospital is part of the Covid-19 Infrastructure Building Programme initiated to enable Gauteng through the Department of Health to deliver on Covid-19 containment strategies,” Mhaga said.
The AngloGold Ashanti hospital is fully functional with 181 intensive care unit (ICU) and high care unit (HCU) beds, a pharmacy, admin and admission areas, radiology, laboratory, and physiotherapy units.
The provincial government said the facility implemented under the National Disaster Act has been fitted with a decontamination area and a central sterile supply department to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The AngloGold Ashanti hospital will also be home to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) unit previously housed in Wedela, Merafong City.
At the opening of the new hospital, Makhura said health infrastructure was central to the provincial government’s health response.
“Our investment in this area is critical to our response against the Covid-19 pandemic. The provincial government saw an opportunity to take over the hospital following its closure,” said Makhura.
The opening of the hospital is expected to relieve pressure on Carletonville and Leratong hospitals as the public facility will aid in extending healthcare to communities in the West Rand.
“The hospital was commissioned during the peak of the coronavirus when the West Rand was declared a Covid-19 hotspot after 196 miners tested positive for Covid-19 at the AngloGold Ashanti Mponeng Mine,” Mhaga said.
The Gauteng provincial government will also be opening a new clinic in Greens Park, Fochville, at the end of May that will form part of the National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot phase rollout.
Following the announcement of Gauteng being in the third wave, Makhura said the priority of the government is now on slowing down the infection rate and increasing the pace of the vaccination process.
The province will commence with phase 2 1b of the vaccination programme today (Monday). Makhura, joined by MECs, will join healthcare workers in the province at various medical and non-medical facilities.
The Phase 1B will commence with the vaccination of the remaining healthcare workers, traditional health practitioners and staff employed at funeral parlours. Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout programme will target vulnerable groups who are 60 years and older.