GP does not have shortage of beds, says provincial spokesperson
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WHILE reports have suggested that some hospitals in Gauteng were running out of beds, the province has denied those reports.
According to Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe, the challenge facing the province is not a shortage of hospital beds but a proper system to manage the hospital capacity.
“At the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital there are more than 400 beds that are lying there not being utilised. We have added new beds at the Bronkhorstspruit Hospital and Anglo Gold Ashanti as well as the Jubilee Hospital, so there are enough beds. What we need is a proper system to manage that capacity,” Masebe said.
The provincial health department said the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Jubilee District Hospital, the Bronkhorstspruit Hospital and the re-purposed Tshwane District Hospital will be able to handle the load, thanks to newly-built infrastructure.
On Sunday, the number of Covid-19 patients in Gauteng health facilities stood at 5 218, with 1 105 admitted to the intensive care units and a further 538 on life support machines.
According to the latest statistics from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Gauteng has become the epicentre of the third wave, registering 66% of the 13 155 newly recorded cases.
Echoing Masebe’s sentiments, vaccinologist Professor Shabir Madhi said Gauteng has got thousand beds that were specifically built to manage Covid-19 patients and these beds are state-of-the-art equipment, but unfortunately the facilities are not fully optimally utilised.
However, nurses at Helen Joseph and Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (Bara), who spoke to Sunday Independent on condition of anonymity, warned that if the cases continued increasing, within the next few days there would be no space left to keep the patients, as the bed occupation was almost reaching its full capacity.
Gauteng currently has 137 active vaccination sites – 89 public and 48 private facilities – with eight new sites recently added.
Walk-ins are reportedly welcome at all public vaccination sites, whether residents are registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System Self Registration Portal or not.