KwaZulu-Natal government hospitals have reassessed their bed capacity to accommodate patients during the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic premier Sihle Zikalala said on Wednesday.
The Province currently has 2 494 isolation beds, as well as 1411 quarantine beds that are dedicated to Covid-19.
“These beds will be repurposed if and when the need arises. All in all, our four field hospitals have a total of more than 682 beds,” Zikalala said.
“We will not hesitate to repurpose more beds if the need arises. We ask of everyone not to ignore the safety protocols. Even when it comes to the illicit trade of alcohol from the so called Mr “take it or leave it”, we ask of you to think twice, as through your actions, you can cost lives by overburdening the healthcare system,” he said.
Zikalala said that as at 28 June 2021, the province had 878 Covid-19 patients admitted in both public and private healthcare facilities. Of those admitted, 143 patients (16%) are in ICU, while 168 are on oxygen.
“The department has established bed monitoring centres (bureaus) in all Districts, which monitor bed utilisation and bed availability. To ensure accuracy of the statistics in this regard, all information is collated and updated on a daily basis,” Zikalala said.
“All our field hospitals such as Ngwelezane, Justice Gizenga Mpanza (formerly Stanger), Clairwood Hospital, as well as the Pietermaritzburg Royal Show Grounds; have been fully-fitted with oxygen, consisting of 361 points. The upgrading of oxygen regulators has been completed at some of our regional hospitals, such as Edendale, RK Khan, Madadeni and Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital,” he said.
“Our system has been further boosted by the installation of a web-based Oxygen Cylinder Management and Ordering System. This enables us to ensure that oxygen is ordered timeously, and to avoid the shortages, which can be a matter of life and death,” Zikalala added.
He said the health department was also in regular and direct contact with its contracted oxygen supplier, Afrox, to ensure that any threats to the supply of oxygen were identified and resolved early.
“We are confident that the oxygen capacity; oxygen management systems, as well as the contingency measures that we have put in place to avoid shortages, will see us through these tough times,” he said.