Covid-19 deaths in Gauteng remain 'a great worry', despite recoveries - Masuku

Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Bandile Masuku.
Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Bandile Masuku.
Photo by Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo
  • Gauteng believes the number of Covid-19 recoveries will bypass active cases in the next two to three weeks. 
  • Masuku says they have already seen a jump in terms of the number of recoveries. 
  • However, of great worry is the number of deaths in the province. 

As Gauteng weathers the coronavirus storm, Health MEC Bandile Masuku says the province is expecting recoveries to bypass active cases in the next two to three weeks. 

Speaking during the Gauteng Provincial Command Council briefing on Friday afternoon, the MEC said since last week the province had seen a great jump in terms of the number of recoveries, but added that "of great worry is still the number of deaths that we are seeing". 

As of 16 July, the province recorded 117 895 confirmed cases, while 51 256 people had recovered. There had been 853 deaths so far.

"But you will also understand that there is a lot that can be explained about the deaths that we are seeing in the province and, working with clinicians, we are aiming to even go further in empowering our district regional hospitals to make sure that we able to deal and reduce the mortality rate or actually keep it in a very constant steady rise," Masuku said.

READ | Gauteng health dept explains comments about 1.5 million graves ahead of Covid-19 spike

He also said they had started to see a number of young children succumb to the virus.

Masuku said, as of Friday, the province had 5 748 patients in hospital, with almost 700 in ICU - and 285 on ventilators.

Reduce

"We must put more effort in making sure that we reduce the rate of transmission, and that we also disrupt the pattern of the spread of the virus," he said. 

Masuku said the initial model had indicated the province would become the hotspot of the pandemic in SA.

READ | 'No direct evidence' linking smoking with severe Covid-19, says NICD director

"The lockdown, Level 5 and Level 4, helped us a great deal to reduce the rate, but now because of the urban nature of the province and because of the highly populated province... we have a high number of informal settlements, which are actually densely populated, so this number is actually expected.

"As we have said before, being an epicentre of the pandemic is actually something that we were expecting, and we are just preparing for us to actually deal with the storm.

"So, as we said last week, that the storm is here - now we have to play a part to weather the storm and make sure that we are able to deal with the storm as it goes," he said. 

ALSO READ | More patients in hospital, beds under pressure, but Gauteng's hospitals have not reached capacity

Masuku said, in the coming week, the province will have conducted over a million tests.

"Weathering the storm is no longer about planning, it is all about putting up interventions every day, every minute and every hour," he said.  

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