Focus on bed numbers as virus cases rise

A hospital bed. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

The number for positive Covid-19 cases continues to increase in Mitchell’s Plain, which now limits the bed capacity of patients at Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital in the Covid-19 ward.

Unused beds are being moved to the Covid-19 ward to handle the influx of positive cases.

Monique Johnstone, spokesperson for the provincial Department of Health, said there are 62 positive cases admitted to the hospital’s Covid-19 ward.

“The hospital has a general bed capacity of 240, but its capacity should not be seen in isolation, as an individual hospital, but is dealt with through the provincial plan. This is an integrated plan, leveraging all available resources, in the province,” she said.

The total number of beds in the whole system needs to be considered, she said.

The Western Cape has 2 162 general care beds and 150 intensive care unit beds that exist in central and regional hospitals across the province.

The province’s network of beds and expansion of bed capacity makes provision for persons who require ICU admission, which includes the collaboration with the private sector.

Currently the hospital has a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff according to the provincial policy.

All provincial district level hospital services are charged according to the patient’s category and financial income.

If the client has medical aid, then the hospital will charge accordingly, but if not, then the test is free of charge regardless of the person’s financial status.

All Covid-19 testing at a primary health care level is free of charge, but people need to be presenting with Covid-19 symptoms before being screened and tested.

The network of critical care ICU and high care beds for severe cases include an existing 150 critical care beds within the public sector, additional 100 critical care beds to be created within the public sector, the public sector to purchase 300 beds from the private sector and private sector, own beds, 300 beds.

Ms Johnstone said the conversion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre into a temporary hospital facility that will provide some 850 general care additional beds at the peak of the pandemic is well under way.

“We will open additional temporary hospitals along the R300 in the metro, in Khayelitsha, and in the Cape Winelands that collectively will provide an additional 616 beds. As our curve rises towards the peak, and more people get infected, our focus will be on protecting vulnerable people, and those at high risk, including healthcare workers and those with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes,” said Ms Johnstone.

The number of coronavirus cases in Mitchell’s Plain stood at 1 550 cases yesterday, Tuesday May 26.

For more information about the provincial government’s coronavirus response plan and case updates, log on to https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za