The Gauteng Provincial Command Council (GPCC) has come up with a plan to deal with the pandemic that has resulted in 6 deaths, as of 16 April. Led by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, the council plans on implementing a five-pronged response to coronavirus. 

“Although Covid-19 is essentially a health pandemic, it has a significant social and economic impact that goes beyond the public health system,” said Makhura at the press briefing.

The five pillars of the province’s action plan include a comprehensive health response, food security response, enforcement and compliance measures, economic response, and social mobilisation and social solidarity.

Additional beds allocated

In anticipation of an influx of Covid-19 patients who might need hospitalisation, additional beds and special facilities have been allocated to various hospitals in the province.

“We are making significant progress in preparing our public health infrastructure for the period when the pandemic may peak. In this regard, we have cleared some of our existing hospitals and declared them Covid-19 facilities. This has helped us make 555 standard beds and 308 ICU beds available,” Makhura said.

There have been other interventions in the province to increase bed capacity. New permanent wards were put up in Kopanong, Jubilee, Chris Hani Baragwanath and George Mukhari Hospitals — and this adds 800 new beds. 500 new beds will also be allocated at the NASREC facility. In total, these measures and more will create an estimated 2 163 beds to be used for different purposes during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

Recovery rate ‘comforting’

According to Makhura, the province has remained the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in the county, with 969 confirmed cases at the time of writing.

Makhura saids that the lockdown has “significantly slowed down the infection rate and stopped the importation of cases that were coming through the O.R. Tambo International Airport and other ports of entry.”

“We are comforted and encouraged by the fact that 479 patients have recovered from Covid-19. This means that 51.5% of those who were infected have recovered.”

Capacity to trace contacts, screen and test increased numbers of people have been rolled out across the province.

“Out of the 6 431 identified contacts who were traced and put under isolation and quarantine, 2 394 have now been cleared of Covid-19. The remaining 4 037 remain under medical surveillance by our team of tracers until they are cleared,” added Makhura.

PPE shortages

The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been an issue of concern for unions representing healthcare professionals and the healthcare providers countrywide. To minimise this, the Gauteng health department called for businesses, organisations and individuals to contribute towards fighting Covid-19.

Premier Makhura says that the province has currently got six weeks’ worth of PPE supply based on the current usage, but that the province will continue to procure more stock. — Health-e News

For more information on Covid-19 in South Africa, you can call the toll-free line on 0800 029 999, or you can send a message that says “Hi” on WhatsApp to the number 060 012 3456. You can also visit the SA Coronavirus website.