GEORGE NEWS & VIDEOS - A high level meeting regarding the Covid-19 situation in the Garden Route is underway at the offices of the Garden Route District Municipality.
The National Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, arrived in George this morning to attend the meeting.
Also in attendance are the Western Cape MEC for Health Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape MEC for Human Settlements Tertuis Simmers, the mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality, Memory Booysen, all the mayors of the B-municipalities in the area and stakeholders of churches and the business community.
Mkhize will later pay a visit to the Harry Comay Hospital. He may possibly brief the media at 14:30 about his impressions of the situation in the Garden Route.
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Hospitals under severe pressure
Nadia Ferreira, Western Cape Health spokesperson for the Garden Route and Central Karoo, said in a statement that the George Hospital is currently under severe pressure, as patients from district hospitals are admitted here for more advanced health interventions.
The Garden Route has seen a 26% (525) increase in cases over the last seven days compared with the previous seven days. Areas of most concern are Bitou, Knysna, George and Mossel Bay. An increase in cases has also been recorded in Oudtshoorn and Hessequa.
Of concern are the 67 new deaths recorded over this period.
George Hospital currently has 67 Covid-19 patients admitted, of which 22 are in high care. Currently 52 of the hospital’s staff members are infected by Covid-19.
Hospital CEO Michael Vonk said the hospital is under immense pressure. “We are trying to make space for as many patients as possible. We have already commissioned three additional wards to treat Covid-19 patients, all the while also ensuring we have capacity for other routine emergencies such as trauma cases.”
The hospital uses a daily average of 2,6 tons of oxygen to treat patients, compared to the daily use of about 2,2 tons per day during the first wave in May.
Knysna Hospital is also under severe pressure with 40 patients admitted. “We have opened additional wards to accommodate the increasing number of Covid patients, and have recruited additional staff to assist,” said Dr Andries Brink, medical manager Knysna/Bitou subdistricts. “We are definitely under pressure, but have effective plans in place to deal with this surge.”
Harry Comay Hospital has converted two wards into Covid wards with an additional building, built during the first wave, that can take 20 patients. The hospital currently has 28 patients.
Testing sites across the district, especially in sub-districts with a rising number of cases, are also testing to capacity on a daily basis. Two additional National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) buses have been deployed to Knysna and George in an attempt to keep up with the high volumes of tests needed.
Areas of most concern:
- Mossel Bay: KwanonQaba, Hartenbos, D’Almeida and Heiderand.
- George: Thembalethu, Pacaltsdorp, Parkdene, Rosemoor, Borcherds, Blanco
- Knysna: Smutsville, Concordia, Khayalethu
- Oudtshoorn: Bridgton
- Bitou: Plettenberg Bay
- Riversdale: Albertinia
“We urge residents to be safe this festive season. Avoid crowded places, close contact settings and areas with poor ventilation,” said Ferreira.
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