Stricter regulations are needed in Gauteng in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the province. This is according to Gauteng Premier David Makhura who has given an update on the state of the pandemic in the province on Thursday.

Makhura says there is a sharp spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng with around 3 000 new infections a day. He says residents need to prepare for the peak in the coming weeks.   

2 500 beds made available‘ 

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku is concerned about the potential pressure on the province’s healthcare system as the number of COVID-19 cases rises.

Masuku says 2 500 beds will be made available in different parts of the province to deal with the increasing number of admissions. He says their prediction models show that more hospital beds will definitely be needed as Gauteng approaches the peak period. 

“We need to use and re-purpose some of the wards and some of the spaces within our facilities to create more space and beds. In the meantime to meet the gap, will be the field hospitals. Because of the winter season, we are seeing a lot of patients coming in with respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and others. Which by in large we need to exclude COVID-19 in them? Yes, the system is feeling the pressure. The numbers have been surging up quite sharply. And that has been visible in terms of the number of admissions.” 

Below is the Provincial Command Council update of coronavirus cases :

Pressure on hospitals 

Professor Steve Moeng from the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital says it is the health workers who bear the brunt of the rising number of patients seeking healthcare.

“We had found ourselves up to mid-April, being able to cope with only one ward. That one could deal with PUI’s and it could also deal with COVID-19 positive patients. In the past 10-14 days, what we have seen coming in, is that we have grown from that one ward to more than seven dedicated wards that are dedicated to PUI’s  (PeRson Under Investigation ) and COVID-19 positive cases. Every day you need to be able to sit down and look at the patients coming in and figure out the best way of being able to accommodate them on the field.” 

Moeng says it is unfortunate that the number of trauma cases has also risen since the ban on alcohol was lifted. “And unfortunately that trauma is preventable. Most of the trauma is related to how we drive on the road and unfortunately, it’s related to the element of alcohol. I’m afraid alcohol contributes to trauma, and we need to deal with that. Our numbers show since we have moved to Level-3, those numbers have gone to 80-90% of what we normally see in trauma. We cannot afford to deal with multiple pandemics at the same time.” 

Gauteng set to reintroduce lockdown rules 

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says he is currently in consultations about introducing a localised lockdown. He says what is even more worrying is that Gauteng has the largest number of active cases, currently at over 35 000. Makhura has appealed for a behavioral change.

“Harder lockdown being localised in some of the areas where things are just getting out of hand. The infection rate is just getting out of hand; people are not observing any of the measures that have been put in place. So this Saturday we are doing consultations about exploring some of the reintroduction of the harsher measures. Some of them may include issues pertaining to alcohol. “ 

Makhura says the storm has reached the province and will continue for as long as there are mass gatherings such as funerals and marches

The province accounts for the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases, with over 45 000 infections and 244 deaths.