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Province gears up for peak

As the Northern Cape enters the eye of the Covid-19 storm, preparations are underway to ensure the health department will be able to cope when the pandemic reaches its peak in September.

With over 3 507 active cases in the province, Kalahari residents will need to be more vigilant about taking the steps necessary to stay healthy and avoid contracting the virus.

Maruping Lekwene
Maruping Lekwene (left, MEC for Health) and Dr Zamani Saul (Northern Cape Premier) during discussions last week with the Minerals Council about “breaking the chain” of Covid-19 transmissions in the mining sector. Photo: Supplied

Even though the province has indicated that its healthcare systems were ready for the expected peak, others don’t agree.

In what has been described as “a storm”, MEC for Health, Maruping Lekwene, urged people to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations in order to not only ensure their personal safety, but also the safety of others.

Covid-19 projections suggest that the storm of the virus is expected to hit somewhere toward mid and end of September.

Both private and public hospitals have almost 3 000 general care beds and 65 intensive care unit (ICU) beds ready. The department also indicated there is no shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the province.

“To prepare for the battle a total of 42 medical interns have been allocated to the province, 160 additional nurses have been employed, 20 additional doctors have been deployed to the province and the number of field staff has also been increased,” says Lekwene.

However, oversight inspections at health facilities across the Northern Cape have revealed a lack of preparedness for the pandemic.

DA Northern Cape Spokesperson for Health, Dr Isak Fritz, says most hospitals were nothing more than glorified clinics, necessitating referrals to bigger hospitals and placing added strain on the already ailing ambulance service.

Some facilities are ill-equipped to care for Covid-19 patients. Many facilities did not have ventilators, others did not have running water and there was a shortage of PPE across the province.

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