Gauteng now in the eye of the Covid-19 storm, says Makhura as hospital admissions doubled in last week

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Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Rosetta Msimango
  • Over the last seven days, confirmed Covid-19 infections and hospital admissions have doubled in Gauteng, according to Premier David Makhura. 
  • Tshwane has emerged as the worst affected metro in the province, with the highest daily infection rate. 
  • Makhura added Covid-19 related deaths have also increased exponentially. 

Over the last seven days, confirmed Covid-19 infections and hospital admissions have doubled in Gauteng, with Tshwane emerging as the worst affected metro. 

This according to Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who visited the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane on Monday. 

Makhura, who said that exact statistics would be provided on Tuesday at the provincial coronavirus command council media briefing, explained that the sharp increases were expected as people returned to the province following the festive season. 

READ | Ramaphosa expected to continue current lockdown restrictions

He said the infection rates and hospital admissions were also exacerbated by gatherings in the province including parties before Christmas where youngsters were seen dancing to music and drinking alcohol along the R80 Mabopane highway into the Daspoort tunnel.

"What we are seeing now is a result of the incidents before the level 3 lockdown."

He also blamed the matriculants who attended the Rage festival in KwaZulu-Natal for exacerbating the infection rate. 

The premier said that coming into the festive season, infection rates were moderate and hospital admissions were fairly low, but that with the new year, the second wave is now being fully experienced in Gauteng. 

READ | Covid-19: SANDF troops to be deployed to aid Western Cape

The province is now in the "... eye of the storm", Makhura said.

He said that Tshwane was recording the highest number of daily infections and the entire metro is considered a hotspot. 

Without giving the exact figures, Makhura said the daily infections in Gauteng in the last seven days is now comparable with the daily rate of confirmed infections during the peak of the first wave in July 2020. 

He added that in the last week, admissions for Covid-19 in public hospitals increased from around 700 to over 2 000. 

"If you combine public and private hospitals the admissions are around 4 500," Makhura said, explaining that both the private and public hospitals are currently taking strain. 

Response 

In response to the second wave of confirmed infections and hospital admissions, Makhura said the Nasrec field hospital will be utilised again and that bed capacity would be increased. 

He said provincial government would be adding 1 000 additional beds, which includes 500 beds with oxygen facilities. 

Makhura said the Nasrec field hospital was fairly empty with just over 300 patients currently admitted to the hospital that can accommodate patients for critical care, quarantine, and for persons under investigation who are suspected to have Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 bed capacity at public hospitals across the province would also be increased. 

Makhura refuted assertions that government did not adequately prepare for the second wave of infections, stating that preparations were based on the modelling data which has changed with the introduction of the new variant that is said to more infectious. 

However, the premier maintained that there is oxygen, capacity, and PPE in Gauteng to deal with the resurgence of Covid-19 infections.

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