Gauteng Premier, David Makhura says residents must brace themselves for a tough two weeks as they expect COVID-19 cases to rise even higher. Makhura says the infection rate in the province has already doubled in the past seven days.

The Premier visited the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, which has since turned its parking bay into a ward for patients under COVID-19 investigation as it could no longer accommodate such cases inside the hospital due to a high influx of patients.

The Steve Biko Academic Hospital is among the busiest in the country. The resurgence of COVID has seen an influx of patients from neighbouring provinces without referrals, putting the hospital under severe pressure. It has now turned its parking bay into wards for patients waiting for their results and referral to nearby hospitals.

The hospital currently has just under 200 COVID patients.

Hospital CEO, Dr Mathabo Mathebula has dismissed suggestions that there are no longer beds available at the hospital. She says the temporary structures are for better management.

“As we have said, COVID-19 patients, even one that looks stable as he steps in the door, the condition can change anytime. Now, they arrive minute by minute, every hour, simultaneously and our capacity in terms of inside was overflowing.”

Steve Biko Academic Hospital struggling to cope with an overflow of patients:

Gauteng has 4 500 COVID hospital admissions in both government and private hospitals.

Makhura says the number of fatalities has also increased exponentially in the province and although the province hasn’t reached a 100% bed capacity, the situation seems to be leading there as the infection rate has doubled in the past seven days, surpassing that of the first wave.

“In a period where the numbers are doubling almost every day and I am saying to you, in the last seven days, they have been increasing, doubling hospital admissions with regard to infections, we are just where we were at the peak of the first wave. In mid-July, Gauteng was at 6 500, the highest daily infection rate was 6 500. Currently, just over 3-4 days the infection rate has been between 6 200 up to 6 900.”

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says his provincial government does not support the idea of going back to Level 5 of COVID-19 restrictions.

Makhura says the next two weeks will be critical in the province as they expect numbers to rise with the return of many from holidays.

“We had prepared for the period in January when people returned, that the numbers are going to increase but the increases are happening much faster and the numbers are much higher. So, I want to say to the people of Gauteng that the next two weeks are going to be difficult on the side of government. We are doing everything in our power working with our healthcare workers and law enforcement agencies to enforce the regulations.”

Makhura says there will be adding more thousand beds at the Nasrec field hospital in Johannesburg in order to accommodate positive cases and those who need to quarantine.

Gauteng Premier and Health MEC visit Steve Biko academic hospital: