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Hospitals Struggling To Keep Up With Second Wave

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Public hospitals are facing some trouble, as the demand for more hospital beds keeps growing. Some Covid-19 patients have died without gaining access to a bed in the ICU.

Hospitals in Nelson Mandela Bay have been struggling to keep up with Covid-19 patients. Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize has identified the area as a Covid-19 hotspot as it has been experiencing a second wave of infections. 

“80% of the people who go to ventilation ICUs, we lose them. We lose half of the people who come to our wards,” said Livingstone Hospital's acting-CEO Dr Mthandeki Xamlashe. 

There has also been an increase in the number of staff testing positive for Covid-19. 

“It’s extremely difficult for staff to stay in PPE and also to keep motivated. There’s a very high burden of patients who are passing away and it’s very difficult for some of our junior staff to carry that” said Dr Emma Gardiner from Livingstone Hospital. 

“Covid is real, Covid is dangerous, Covid can kill. On a daily basis over the past week we had an excess of 10 deaths per day. The day before yesterday 20 people died in our hospitals across the metro,” said Darlene De Vos, Nelson Mandela Bay District Manager. 

Minister Mkhize said the Health Department has been working on a response to deal with the rise in infections that the district has been facing. 

He said some hospitals need to manage the rate at which hospitals are coming into hospitals to allow for more rotation of patients. 

“When the wave is starting to rise the way it is doing now, I think we need to understand that it does overwhelm [the system]. What we’ve been working on is to make sure that there’s proper distribution so that people don’t get stretched in one area,” said Mkhize.

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