Fri, 25 Sep 2020

Municipalities losing billions of rands during Covid-19 pandemic

The CTICC facility treated 1 502 people, discharged 1 440, with 57 remaining. Eighty-two people died there.

The facility's mortuary container will be moved to rural areas to assist where needed by mid-September as per the contract with the CTICC.

Cloete said the field hospitals were intended for a specific window and were never at capacity.

However, he was pleased the department's strategy had been to "over-provide" instead of "under-provide", given the uncertainty over how the pandemic would affect the country.

Although having enough bed and equipment capacity, in hindsight, it may have prepared its staff better for what was about to hit them, given the anxiety levels.

"We've learnt a lot about preparing human beings for the emotional process that they will go through in the face of anxiety and in the face of uncertainty," he added.

Earlier this year, horrific reports of hospitals overflowing with Covid-19 patients emerged from Italy, and there were fears the same would happen in South Africa.

A national disaster was declared by Ramaphosa in March, followed by a strict lockdown and limitations on movement to give the country's hospitals time to prepare for a possible similar scenario.

Change

Cloete said that continued behaviour change was vital with regards to containment, adding Covid-19 would remain, and masks, hand-washing and surface hygiene should continue.

The province's planning will focus heavily on detecting new clusters, a national zero-prevalence strategy for antibodies to gauge the extent of how many people contracted the virus and continued monitoring of hotspots until a vaccine is available between 12 months or two years, particularly for sentinel events such outbreaks linked to gatherings such as weddings or church sermons.

The National Health Laboratory Services has no backlog and the department can also now review cases to adjust its future strategy.

Cloete said if the lockdown was eased further with continued behaviour change, the province would be able to cope with the number of new Covid-19 cases and people returning for non-Covid-19-related medical treatment.

A focus on diabetics, who were found to be at a higher risk with a background mortality of 37%, led to a medicine delivery service for them during the pandemic, which will be continued.

A similar programme for lower-risk diabetics started on 7 August with 60 already contacted and 13 escalated for a follow-up.

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