Cape Town – Gauteng Prime Minister David Makhura has dismissed accusations that the Gauteng government is less prepared for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, currently underway in the province.
On Tuesday, Makhura and his fellow members of the provincial command council provided an update on measures taken by the provincial government to combat the increase in infections in the province.
The province has recorded 338,071 cases, 6,170 deaths and more than 280,000 recoveries. Active cases stand at just over 50,000 and the death rate is 1.8% – a figure according to the prime minister on the rise.
Makhura has warned that the next two weeks will be difficult times for the province and that the government expects an increase in infections and hospital admissions.
In the past few days, Makhura has come under fire over the province’s plans to tackle the rise in infections. The full announcement of Steve Biko Teaching Hospital in Tshwane has raised concerns among members of the public about the preparation.
He said those concerns and accusations were not true and he was working to highlight areas where the provincial government had focused on tackling the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Makhura said that currently hospital admissions stood at 4,128, in the public sector at 1,300 and in the private sector at 2,787. He said bed capacity was not yet exceeded.
He said 220 people were on ventilation and 384 on oxygen, and those numbers were continuously monitored.
He further explained that when bed capacity is increased in the province, the beds exceed 4,000 beds, with an additional 1,925 beds added to the province.
Up to 525 beds are expected to be added to Gauteng hospitals by February in response to the second wave.
The Prime Minister said this was proof that the capacity was available to deal with the second wave.
“Those who say we are less ready for the second wave aren’t precise. We have more staff and more beds. Our modeling is being adjusted for the second wave,” he said. .
Makhura also welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Monday evening, which extended the country’s stay at level 3 of the risk-adjusted lockdown.
He said scientific modeling in the province had shown that if Level 3 measures had not been implemented by the end of December, active cases in Gauteng could have been 90,000 instead of 50,000. current.
Makhura said that although the province had been criticized for keeping the lease of Nasrec, which is used as a field hospital, the decision was crucial because the installation was necessary.
“We don’t know how raging the pandemic will be in terms of the increase. Even if we have doubled the number of beds we wanted, without pharmaceutical interventions, we may not be able to keep up with the pressure ”. he said.
In a presentation by Professor Bruce Mellado, who helps track coronavirus cases in the province, Gauteng was shown to have 300 active hot spots. A spike in infections was expected in mid-February, Mellado said.