Speaking in Bhisho on Tuesday, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane dedicated part of his speech to reassuring the people of the province that hospitals were not full and there were still enough beds for patients.
In his last media briefing for this year, the premier said daily admissions in both public and private hospitals had decreased lately. Earlier this week, the provincial government also reported a decrease in infections in the two hotspots in the province – the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan and the Sarah Baartman District municipalities.
“Let me now highlight our state of admissions in hospitals, because there have been extensive reports in the media about shortages of beds. From the onset, let me assure the people of our province that our hospitals are not full; they are not overflowing because of high numbers of people admitted as a result of Covid-19-related illnesses."
“The average daily admissions have decreased by 46.6%, from 204 admissions on December 14 to 109 admissions on December 21. We are now seeing less admission of patients than we did on December 10. Currently, the number of patients admitted in both public and private hospitals in the province is 1 795 (1 211 in public hospitals and 584 in private hospitals)."
However, Mabuyane called on people to comply with infection control protocols, so that they did not get infected with the virus, as that would lead to the spread of Covid-19.
“If and when more people get infected, the majority of those might need hospitalisation and our health system, just like any health system in the world, will be stretched beyond its capability,” he said.
He said their data analysis at the moment indicated that, since March, 159 767 people have been infected with Covid-19 in the province. Of these, 139 264 people have recovered and there are currently 14 251 active cases.
Mabuyane, who has recently recovered from the virus himself, said the impact of Covid-19 has also been felt severely in the provincial administration. “MEC Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi (social development), MEC Fundile Gade (education) and MEC Sindiswa Gomba (health) are the latest members of the executive who are still battling with Covid-19 after they tested positive.
“We wish them, together with all the people who are battling this virus, a speedy recovery. There are also 13 177 employees of the provincial government who contracted Covid-19, and 11 372 of these people have since recovered, hence the exco decision to release all government employees, except essential and critical staff, to work from home, but, sadly, we lost 348 of our colleagues.”
He appealed to people to bury their loved ones within 72 hours, as was the case during the first wave of the virus, and conclude burials in strictly two hours.
“The worst and most painful effect of this Covid-19 pandemic is that many of our people lost parents, children, siblings, friends, colleagues, loved ones and relatives.
“I would find it extremely odd if one person in the province has not been affected in one way or the other by the Covid-19 pandemic. If it has not infected you, surely it has affected you, whether socially or economically,” concluded Mabuyane.