WATCH: Mkhize visits acute-care facilities in Cape Town to assess readiness

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Jun 1, 2020

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Cape Town - Health officials will today continue to visit additional sites in the Western Cape for Covid-19 testing and to assist patients in order to assess its readiness for the peak of the pandemic. 

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo on Monday visited four acute-care facilities in Pinelands, Khayelitsha, Brackengate and the CBD, which are expected to operate as field hospitals as well as isolation and quarantine sites. 

They met with the central hot-spot management team and a group of Cuban doctors who are in the country to assist local health-care practitioners. They are scheduled to visit similar sites in Ceres and Paarl today.

Mkhize said he now had a sense of how prepared the sites are as the Western Cape continues to show an increase in positive Covid-19 cases. 

“We are seeing a trend in the increasing cases and it is being determined to be faster than what we initially anticipated. Upon evaluation, we are quite happy with the progress in combating the spread of the infection,” he added.

Specific interventions are being applied in various hot spots across the country, Mkhize said. In each district, the demographics will be evaluated in the area including the population size, age distribution and number of positive cases.

“Demographic profiles will also be done with how many experience hypertension, diabetes or cancer, and blood pressure will be checked,” he added.

There are as many as 860 intensive-care beds already set up at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, while the Khayelitsha sports complex and Brackengate warehouse have been similarly repurposed.

“Since the surge of cases is occurring faster compared to the rate of beds available, we will make use of beds from private hospitals to make sure there is never an issue of running out of beds in the public sector,” Mkhize said.

Keith Cloete, head of provincial health, added: “Currently, the public sector ICU beds are close to capacity; therefore it is important for us to get a contracted place with the private sector.” 

Assistance from the Cubans will be in accordance with their experience and expertise, Cloete said.

Premier Alan Winde said they had the opportunity to discuss some of the risks in the system with Mkhize, such as the backlog in testing as a result of the NHLS backlogs and shortages of testing kits and reagents required for testing.

"We are working closely with the National Department of Health ensuring that all of the nuts and bolts of our response are in place and that our approaches are aligned.

"These sites are part of our ongoing preparations to ensure that at the peak, which is expected at the end of June, beginning of July in the Western Cape, we are able to offer care to those that require it."

Western Cape Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo showcased the state of readiness regarding hot-spot management to the National Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. Video: Armand Hough/African News Agency

@Sukainaish

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Cape Argus

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