The Gauteng government has acknowledged that some of the province’s health facilities are not properly utilised to cope with the surge in COVID-19 hospitalisations.

Gauteng accounts for 66% of the more than 13 000 cases recorded in the last 24-hour reporting cycle.

Senior Researcher at the CSIR, Dr Ridhwaan Suliman, said that more than 5 100 people are being treated for COVID-19 in Gauteng hospitals, most of them at private facilities.

Suliman warned that the province could face even greater pressure as the third wave intensifies.

Gauteng Government Spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, says: “We do indeed face pressure but at the same time we do have capacity that was created since the start of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and most of that capacity is in the existing hospitals. These are not actually temporary structures and most of them are not optimally used. We have to make sure that we bring them to full use.”

Meanwhile, Virologist Professor Sharbir Madhi has urged the Gauteng Health Department to deploy more human resources to help fight the third wave in the province.

More than 5000 people are currently being treated in the province’s hospitals which is putting huge pressure on available resources.

Madhi says Gauteng is not using its resources optimally.

“Gauteng has got thousand beds that were specifically built to manage COVID-19 patients and these beds are the state of art equipment, but unfortunately the facilities are not fully optimally utilised which is really unfortunately because it is unfair on the doctors and the nurses to be put under such a tremendous pressure looking after so any patients at a single facility which patients are sitting in an emergency department for two to three days on supplement oxygen,” he says.