South Africa - Pretoria - 11 January 2021. Steve Biko Academic Hospital health workers attending to patients at the parking lot which has been convernted in to a ward due to shortage of space in the hospital.Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)
South Africa - Pretoria - 11 January 2021. Steve Biko Academic Hospital health workers attending to patients at the parking lot which has been convernted in to a ward due to shortage of space in the hospital.Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

Covid-19 in Gauteng: Hospitals stretched as active cases drop, but over 1 500 in ICU, 912 dead in 7 days

By Sihle Mlambo Time of article published Jul 23, 2021

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Johannesburg - More than 912 people in Gauteng died of Covid-19 in the past week, but active cases have dropped sharply from over 81 000 last week, to 48 671 this week.

Gauteng has been the province with the most new infections during South Africa’s third wave of the virus, which is mainly driven by the Delta variant.

In its weekly update, the Gauteng provincial government said Covid-19-related deaths had increased from 14 991 last Thursday, to 15 903 seven days later.

This represents a steady death rate of 1.9%, while active cases had dropped by 4%, from 81 297 last week to 48 671.

In terms of the active cases, or infections, the majority of those exposed to the virus were in Johannesburg (over 18↓000 cases), Ekurhuleni (nearly 10 000) and Tshwane (over 14 000).

In terms of efforts to trace Covid-19 contacts, the province said it had to date tracked and traced over 535 000 people who were exposed to the virus by someone who had been infected.

“A total of 544 902 contacts have been identified in Gauteng. Out of these, 98% (535 110) have been traced to date. A total of 116 033 contacts were tested with 57% (65 895) testing positive for Covid-19.”

In terms of hospitalised Covid-19 patients, there were over 8 000 people admitted in hospitals; among them 1 714 were either in the ICU ward or in a high care ward.

The province has been able to add 325 new beds in Gauteng, bringing bed availability to 4 407.

“An additional 325 beds were added to the baseline of 4 082 through repurposing of additional unused or underutilised spaces in facilities, including undertaking major refurbishments and renovations to create additional beds, creating permanent alternative building technology (ABT) facilities to increase health-care system capacity. The current dedicated functional beds are 4 407.”

The public sector’s bed occupancy rate was severely stretched, with an occupancy rate of 99.7%, while in the private sector it was at 89%.

“Despite the decrease in active cases, the health-care system is still experiencing pressure in bed availability in both private and public sectors.

“Additional beds continue to be activated through recruitment of health-care workers in ABT and non-ABT facilities, especially in districts with increased hospitalisations.

“Daily engagements are held between Afrox and facilities to ensure oxygen supply.

“Daily monitoring is done of PPE stocks, bed pressures (especially in maternity, ICU and High Care), accidents and emergencies, and trauma statistics at all facilities to ensure delivery of quality health-care services,” said the Gauteng government.

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