NATIONAL NEWS - As of Thursday, South Africa has recorded a total of 778,571 Covid-19 cases, with 3,069 new cases identified since the last report, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced.
Regrettably, 88 more COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 33, Free State 25, Gauteng 5, Kwa-Zulu Natal 2, Limpopo 5 and Western Cape 18. This brings the total deaths to 21,289, he said.
The cumulative number of tests conducted to date is 5 383 078 with 28 010 new tests conducted since the last report.
“We extend our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers who treated the deceased patients,” said Mkhize.
“Officials from Gauteng Province have indicated that they are giving urgent attention to the issue of data reconciliation. In addition, we have deployed a team to assist them to resolve the issue expediently,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hospitals on the Garden Route are under severe pressure as a Covid-19 resurgence takes hold, the Western Cape Department of Health has warned.
“Public hospitals in the Garden Route are under severe pressure, especially George Regional and Knysna Hospitals,” said Nadia Ferreira, spokesperson for the department in the southern Cape.
“They do, however, still have capacity for emergencies. We ask that all patients with non-life-threatening conditions access healthcare services at their nearest clinic,” she said.
Private hospital group Life Healthcare had already cancelled unnecessary elective and non-emergency surgeries in Knysna and Mossel Bay in preparation for the next wave of patients who would need acute and intensive care.
The Life Healthcare group said it had already seconded extra staff to help in Knysna after pausing its elective and non-emergency procedures. Dr Charl van Loggerenberg, General Manager for Emergency Medicine, said: “At this point Life Knysna Private Hospital and Life Bay View Hospital in Mossel Bay Covid wards are not at full capacity, however, to ensure we are prepared to deal with the expected pressures, unnecessary elective and non-emergency surgeries are postponed indefinitely and additional staff have been seconded to Knysna.”
The Garden Route was one of the last regions in the Western Cape to record Covid-19 cases as the pandemic swept across South Africa.
However, cases rose rapidly, mostly in towns along the N2.
Local authorities had already closed many public facilities as a precaution, such as sport fields where large groups gather.
The Western Cape Department of Health warned that the Cape Metro was next, and was pleading for people to abide by Covid-19 safety measures.