Eastern Cape hospitals fill up again as Covid-19 resurgence takes hold

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
A nurse performs a swab test for Covid-19.
A nurse performs a swab test for Covid-19.
Michele Spartari
  • An early outlier in the local Covid-19 epidemic, the Eastern Cape is seeing a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions and deaths.
  • As of Thursday, 710 people were admitted to hospitals in the province - 45 in ICU and 52 on a ventilator - an increase of 226 admissions in the past week.
  • On average for the past seven days, cases in the province increased by 545 per day, the highest level of daily cases reported since August.

The number of cases and hospitalisations as a result of Covid-19 in the Eastern Cape are seeing a resurgence after weeks of ongoing, but slow, transmission.

Official, reported data shows that in the month of October the province started seeing an upward trend in the number of cases and hospital admissions and early indications are clear that a long-warned "second wave" has arrived in the province.

It is widely expected that the severity of the resurgence should be less deadly than the initial surge of cases, but it remains unclear whether the outbreaks will be controlled in time.

As of Thursday, 710 people were admitted to 98 hospitals (public and private) in the province. This was the highest number of concurrent admissions the province had seen to date, according to available data.

Fifty-two of those people were on a ventilator and 45 were in ICU.

This, in comparison to the 484 people admitted last Friday, 30 October.


The number of reported Covid-1 hospital admissions in the Eastern Cape over time. (Graphic - News24 Covid-19 Dashboard)

According to data reported by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a total of 13 101 people had been admitted to a hospital in the province since the start of the local coronavirus epidemic.

3 471 of those patients died, while 8 844 were discharged.

The province reported a total of 3 813 Covid-19 deaths, and 90 919 recoveries.

Visit News24's Covid-19 Dashboard for the latest information on the coronavirus

News24 understands the majority of the new admissions are in hospitals in Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City, including private and public hospitals. The capacity of these hospitals to handle the number of patients is unclear. 

In July, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane said the province's hospitals were "overwhelmed" and called for help from military doctors.

On Thursday, the national Department of Health reported 758 new Covid-19 cases - the highest single day case increase in the province since July.

The number of tests being conducted daily however, is unclear, as the department does not report daily testing totals by province.

Delays in the processing of test results and further delays in reporting means the official, reported data may lag by anywhere between five to 10 days. It is therefore likely that the actual situation in the Eastern Cape, particularly in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and Buffalo City, may be worse or improved from the picture presented by the reported data. 


The number of reported Covid-19 cases in the Eastern Cape over time. (Graphic - News24 Covid-19 Dashboard)

This is a developing story.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 2220 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
49% - 9890 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 7466 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 746 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.