Gauteng Command Council allocates more hospital beds

David Makhura
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Gauteng Command Council is increasing its efforts to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is preparing to add over 2 000 beds in the province as the number of cases increase.

This is in addition to the makeshift hospital being set up at Nasrec. Gauteng constitutes 37% of infections in the country. Thursday marked 21 days of the lockdown.

Gauteng remains the epicentre of the pandemic in South Africa. Of the 2 605 infections recorded countrywide, 969 of them are in Gauteng while the province has also recorded six deaths. This has led to the province beefing up its interventions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, says permanent wards will be put up in the number of hospitals and the number of beds made available have been increased.

“So 555 standard beds and 308 ICU beds have been cleared and have been made ready for COVID-19 in our existing facilities. In addition to these 555 beds and 308 ICU beds, we are putting up new wards in some of our hospitals. Kopanong Hospital in the Vaal, Jubilee Hospital in Tshwane, Chris Hani Baragwanath in Johannesburg and George Mukhari in Tshwane as well. These additional wards we are putting are permanent wards. These are permanent structures that we will use even beyond COVID-19. This intervention of putting in new permanent wards will create 800 new beds,” says Makhura.

Close to 200 000 people in the province have been screened and close to 3 000 have been referred for testing. Tracing efforts have been increased and have been effective since the lockdown.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lockdown four weeks ago and Gauteng Health MEC, Bandile Masuku, says the period has assisted the department in its efforts.

“The issue of tracing has improved tremendously. Tracing is an important part of the work we are doing and the lockdown seeks to make sure that we achieve exactly that, particularly to be able to track and trace all the known contacts and the lockdown is actually helping us in a great deal to make sure that we are able to get them. Last week, we spoke about our tracing to be around 80% and now we are quite confident that we are over 95%,” says Masuku.

Over 50% of all individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus have now recovered.

“So 51.5% of those who were infected since the first infection were recorded in the Gauteng province, have recovered. We are not complacent because the journey to the peak remains very, very long,” says Masuku.

Makhura has also appealed to residents in the province to assist in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. He urged community members to donate food, personal protective equipment and volunteer to help.

This will be done under the banner of “Gauteng Together” – an initiative calling for the establishment of Community Action Networks to address the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, you can call the Coronavirus 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999. You can also add the official government COVID-19 support service on WhatsApp on 0600 123 456.

Health Minister, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, has reiterated the importance of staying at home to help to fight the coronavirus.

“The possibility of the infection spreading whilst we are on the lockdown is high if you do not stay at home. Actually it can be self-defeating to have a lockdown but people actually continue to mingle and in the process spread the infection,” says Mkhize.

In this video, Gauteng Premier David Makhura announces the allocation of hospital beds