The field hospital designated to care for up to 200 Covid-19 patients at Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital, neighbour to Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital, is closing its doors.
The wards, previously known as the Aquarius wards, were repurposed for Covid-19 intermediate care for the second wave, with additional beds and infrastructure added in January last year (“Mitchell’s Plain Hospital of Hope opens”, Plainsman, January 13, 2021).
Mitchell’s Plain Hospital of Hope was decommissioned on Monday January 31 due to the decline in patients needing hospitalisation across the health platform.
The last Covid-19 patients were treated at the field hospital on Wednesday January 26.
Monique Johnstone, principal communications officer for the provincial Department of Health’s Klipfontein/ Mitchell’s Plain substructure, said Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital had a Covid-19 ward to treat patients and conduct Covid-19 tests for patients only.
“Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre (CHC) offers Covid-19 tests to clients who meet the testing criteria. All services are operational at the Mitchell’s Plain CHC and the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital,” she said.
The decommissioning coincides with cabinet’s announcement to change adjusted alert level 1 regulations.
On Monday January 31 Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said in a statement the changes followed meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), which received updates on the management of Covid-19 in South Africa – confirming that the country has exited the fourth wave.
He said that Cabinet had decided based on the trajectory of the pandemic and the levels of vaccination in the country, to amend adjusted alert level 1 regulations.
People who tested positive but do not have symptoms do not have to isolate; if you do test positive with symptoms the isolation period has been reduced from 10 days to a week; and contacts do not have to isolate unless they develop symptoms.
The Cabinet also reviewed the resumption of schooling to full-time learning in all schools.
“Primary, secondary and special schools will return to daily attendance. The regulatory provision for social distancing of 1 metre for learners in schools has also been removed,” read the statement.
The ministers of Health and Basic Education will in the coming days issue directives reflecting on this new approach.
Yesterday, Tuesday February 1, Premier Alan Winde welcomed the announcement that pupils would attend school daily.
“A continuation of a rotational timetable would have hurt our poorest communities the most, resulting in a generational catastrophe. We need our children in class for as long as possible, if we are to reverse the detrimental impact that the pandemic has had on their learning,” he said.
Mr Winde said since October health data had made it clear that the country had reached an “endemic” stage, with significant immunity nationally.
“This means that we can respond through existing public health measures,” he said.