The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has called on all provincial health departments to ensure that they are prepared for a rise in COVID-19-related hospitalisations as the fourth wave hits the country.
Health officials have warned that the new Omicron variant is highly transmissible, with data showing its presence in all nine provinces.
SAMA’s Vice Chairperson, Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa says, “It is time for the departments to plan and make sure that they prepare for the fourth wave because it didn’t come as a surprise. It was always announced by the experts that in December the fourth wave is coming, it was a known secret. We expect the provinces to be ready, but I am afraid if I look at some of the provinces, I don’t think we are ready for the fourth wave unless I can be proven wrong.”
Mzukwa has warned that there is the possibility that hospitals could be overburdened by COVID-19 admissions over the festive season.
“We may be seeing or observing mild cases now because severity and hospitalisation lag behind, so we might see during Christmas or after, but there is a possibility that in the next weeks we are going to see it. If we have this rate of transmission, you are going to have a lot of people, even those who are vulnerable in numbers going to hospitals – which may lead to the overburdening of the system,” says Mzukwa .
Young people urged to take measures to protect themselves against Omicron COVID-19 variant
SAMA has again urged young people to take measures to protect themselves against the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, saying more youth are becoming severely infected and hospitalise.
According to the latest figures from the Department of Health, more than 8% of children aged between 12 and 17 have received the single dose Pfizer shot. Children younger than 12 are not eligible for vaccination in South Africa.
“Younger people seem to be more affected an infected by his new Omicron, even though the population is coming into play. That has some significance because if you have younger people, they might display milder symptoms even though we have noted now that there are younger cases who have become severe and hospitalised, but our systems aren’t under pressure as yet,” says Mzukwa.
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