'Gauteng health facilities have reached maximum bed capacity' - department

  • The rate of increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Gauteng has risen in recent days.
  • The province's Health MEC predicts it will see around 300 000 cases by the end of August.
  • As of 1 July, 244 people had died in the province.

As Covid-19 cases have started to spike in Gauteng, all government hospitals in the province have reached maximum bed capacity.

This was confirmed by the Gauteng Department of Health on Thursday.

"Please note that all the Gauteng Health facilities have reached the maximum bed capacity," department spokesperson Philani Mhlungu told News24.

Mhlungu added that the reasons for maximum capacity being reached included the number of maternity cases, neonatal ICU cases, mental health (substance abuse) cases, trauma cases (alcohol) and Covid-19 cases.

"These are some of the reasons why hospital beds have reached maximum capacity."

Mhlungu added that patients who needed to be admitted at a facility which had reached capacity would be diverted to other hospitals where beds had opened up.

However, later on Thursday, the Gauteng Provincial Coronavirus Command Council said there were 8 301 beds available specifically for Covid-19 patients in private and public hospitals.

The 8 301 available beds include paediatric beds, ICU/high care beds, and general beds.

Additional beds are also being created in public hospitals in the province.  A total of 1 575 beds, which will include 900 intensive care unit beds, are expected to be ready by the end of July.

Mhlungu later clarified his comments to News24, saying that government hospitals were stretched in terms of capacity, but that there were Covid-19 beds available as reflected by the province’s command council.

On Wednesday, Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku told News24 that while he doesn't believe the public healthcare system would fail in coming weeks, it would, however, "feel the pressure".

READ | Covid-19: 'It'll be overcrowded in hospitals' - Gauteng MEC predicts 300 000 cases by end of August

"It will be overcrowded in hospitals. We are already feeling the pressure in many facilities and we are going to see a lot of accident and emergency departments filled up with patients waiting to be put on beds and we are going to see a lot of healthcare workers exhausted, fatigued - a whole lot of absenteeism that might be coming from that part," he said.

As of 1 July, there were 45 944 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Gauteng with a total of 3 091 people hospitalised in both public and private hospitals in the province, according to the department.

The province also recorded 244 deaths and 12 957 recoveries to date.

Of the total confirmed cases, 22 388 cases were recorded in Johannesburg, 9 845 cases in Ekurhuleni and 7 235 cases in Tshwane. 

Smaller municipalities such as Sedibeng recorded 1 769 cases of the virus, while 2 902 cases have been confirmed in the West Rand.

A total of 1 805 cases have not yet been allocated.

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