Northern Cape needs more hospital beds as COVID-19 peak looms: Health MEC

Hospital beds
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Northern Cape Health MEC Maruping Lekwene says the province needs to procure more hospital beds for the looming COVID-19 peak. The provincial peak is expected in September.

Lekwene says approximately 200 beds for critical patients are needed. The province currently has 40 beds and almost half of them are occupied.

The MEC hopes that the required number of beds will be sourced by mid-August.

Lekwene was speaking during the launch of a COVID-19 Awareness Campaign at Nkandla informal settlement in Phokwane Municipality.

The first positive case of COVID-19 for the province was recorded in Phokwane Municipality at the beginning of March. Since then, the province has steadily reported more cases from across all the municipalities.

The infection rate was slow for a while, after the first reported case, but in recent weeks the province’s infection rate has been rising rapidly. Now, the Health Department says it is embarking on Aggressive COVID-19 Awareness Campaign, which aims to teach people how to protect themselves against infections.

The campaign, which started at Nkandla informal settlement, saw hundreds of face masks and hand sanitisers donated to residents.

Surge in infections

Health MEC, Maruping Lekwene, says they’re worried about the surge in infections.

“It has always been a challenge for us in the Northern Cape in terms of sufficient human resources capacity both clinical and non-clinical, but I can report now with confidence that we are in a process of hiring 116 nurses. There are qualified nurses in the province, more than we expected. Now, we want to accommodate all of them, especially in this time of coronavirus. Others we are employing them permanently; others, we will give them contracts,” says Lekwene.

Adam Nelani is one of those who received a face mask and a bottle of sanitiser. He says he is anxious about the pandemic, but is optimistic the nation will rise above this challenging time.

Kediemetse Moeketsi says COVID-19 is dangerous and unfortunate, but she is happy that her community was able to get more services such as water as a result of the pandemic.

The province still records the lowest infections in the country, with just over 3 000 positive cases and 23 deaths.