Gauteng gearing up for Covid-19 onslaught - Health MEC Bandile Masuku

Gauteng MEC for Health Bandile Masuku walks through the temperature detector at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria North.
Gauteng MEC for Health Bandile Masuku walks through the temperature detector at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria North.
PHOTO: Gauteng Department of Health
  • Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku says his department is taking measures to cope with the expected increase in Covid-19 infections.
  • The province has increased its capacity in terms of hospital beds and is looking into establishing field hospitals.
  • The MEC added that around 10 000 ventilators would also be available for critical patients.


Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku on Thursday said his department is taking measures to cope with the expected increase in Covid-19 infections. Gauteng is projected to have the highest number of cases by the end of the year.

He added that it was expected that some of the officials in his office would at some point get Covid-19.

The Gauteng Department of Health on Thursday confirmed that two officials in Masuku's office had tested positive for Covid-19.

They are department spokesperson Kwara Kekana and Julius Maputla, the manager for stakeholder relations.

According to Philani Mhlungu, media liaison officer for the MEC, these two officials are part of the core team that frequents the Provincial Disaster Management Centre.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702 morning host Bongani Bingwa, Masuku said: "There is also a cold front and we are meeting different individuals – even though we take precautions, lapses do happen."

Masuku said his department is taking measures to cope with the expected increase in Covid-19 infections. Gauteng is projected to have the highest number of cases by the end of the year.

"We are hoping that all we have done in terms of interventions at the hotspots [are enough]. We are using public and private facilities. By and large, the largest number of patients we have in the province are in the private sector.

Continuously increasing capacity

"Now we are close to 8 700 beds which are almost ready for Covid-19 patients. We are continuously increasing that number."

Masuku said the department is also looking into establishing field hospitals.

"We are aiming for a point where we will have 15 000 beds, which will not be used exclusively for critical care."

 

The MEC added that around 10 000 ventilators would also be available for critical patients. These will be imported within the next two weeks, he said.

Masuku said it was concerning that there was an increase in Covid-19 infections in frontline healthcare workers.

"In Gauteng we lost three already, and it's something that is very worrying. So, we are trying to trace this to see where there may have been lapses. It's something we are working on."

The MEC said he had already been tested for Covid-19 five times. "Every time one of my close contacts tests positive, I should be certain that I am clear."

Gauteng is the second-hardest-hit province with 7 195 cases and 57 deaths (by 10 June).

 - Compiled by Riaan Grobler


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