With increasing Covid-19 infections in the province, a North West hospital has suspended patient visits as fears of cross-infections grow.

Until now, the Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp has allowed one visitor under strict restrictions. The facility has 150 beds dedicated to treating Covid-19.

“It’s a difficult time for patients and healthcare workers as many of them are getting infected. We have also lost healthcare workers due to the virus and this affects our staff strength when nurses and doctors take leave to go into isolation,” says Professor Binu Luke, who heads academic and clinical services at the hospital.

Professor Luke says there are also high levels of anxiety among staff and patients, and reducing visits will help this. The hospital’s treatment team will determine and approve any exceptions.

Communication via cellphone

Professor Luke tells Health-e-News that hospital management has put measures in place to ensure that patients are able to communicate with their families.

“We understand that it is difficult for patients to stay in hospital without seeing their loved ones. Arrangements have been made where patients can have access to telephones and they are also allowed to use their cellphones,” says Professor Luke.

More beds for increasing infections

The North West has had over 22,000 infections, with approximately 9,600 still active cases and 150 deaths.

To increase the number of Covid-19 treatment beds in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District, officials have made two hospitals available, Westvaal in Orkney and Duff Scott Hospital. These hospitals will admit patients who are showing symptoms and those who are asymptomatic.

Meanwhile, North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha paid tribute to the frontline workers who have succumbed to Covid-19.