Gauteng premier David Makhura. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
Gauteng premier David Makhura. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

The rate of hospital admissions as a result of the increase in Covid-19 cases was a cause for concern, Gauteng premier David Makhura said on Friday.

It was revealed that there were 2‚956 Covid-19 admissions in Gauteng hospitals as of Thursday. Of those‚ 753 were in public hospitals and 2‚203 were in private health facilities.

“Over the past three weeks‚ evidence showed we have sustained increases in the number of infections. The spike is increasing. We are concerned about increases in hospital admissions‚” Makhura said at a media briefing of the Gauteng command council on Friday.

He added that Gauteng now accounted for at least half of daily cases reported nationally‚ and had reached a daily rate of infection of 3‚000.

“It is easy to get to 4‚000 [new infections] daily. We reached 6‚500 in the first wave and 6‚900 daily in the second wave. You must be worried about the momentum and pace of the pandemic‚” Makhura said.

Prof Bruce Mellado‚ a member of the premier's advisory council‚ said Gauteng had the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country (465‚668) and the highest number of active Covid-19 cases (19‚877) as of June 3.

“We are solidly in a third resurgence. This is the fifth week of sustained growth in the number of cases. In the past two days‚ we have had about 3‚000 cases a day‚ which is already quite a big number‚” Mellado said.

Arnold Malotana‚ the acting head of the department of health in Gauteng‚ said public hospital admissions remained low.

“While in the past seven days there has been a slight increase in terms of these patients‚ we are sitting at 753 patients in public health services. We remain comfortable‚” he said.

Malotana said in the first and second waves of Covid-19 infections‚ public health hospitals never surpassed 3‚000 admissions.

“Between the first‚ second and third wave‚ the province continuously increased the number of beds we have in the system.”

Malotana said though they had lost beds in Charlotte Maxeke Hospital as a result of a recent fire‚ new beds were made available in other facilities.

“There is a continuous increase in bed capacity. We are advised by public health experts that given that there is a process of acquired community immunity and vaccination rollout‚ the peak of the third wave should not be as bad as the first and second wave‚” Malotana said.

Nomsa Mmope‚ acting COO of the Gauteng health department‚ said that since the start of the rollout of phase two of vaccinations on May 17‚ the province had administered jabs to 328‚000 people.

“Gauteng has been leading all provinces in the number of people we are vaccinating‚” Mmope said.

She said the province has vaccinated 87% of the total health worker population of 215‚101 and would vaccinate the remainder by the end of next week.

The province was targeting 1.3 million people over the age of 60 and had already vaccinated 150‚000, she said.

Of the 218 old-age homes housing 26‚216 people‚ the province has administered vaccinations in 99‚ covering 17‚733 people.

“Next week‚ we should be completing the [remaining] 8‚000.”

Mmope said the vaccination programme provided the best chance of reducing new infections‚ severe illnesses‚ hospitalisations and death.

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