With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, rumours have surfaced stating hospitals in the province have reached maximum capacity.
This, however, according to the Medical Sector and Government, is false.
In light of the allegations pertaining to hospitals reaching maximum capacity, the KZN Department has dismissed these statements.
In fact, KZN MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu claims that despite the strain medical facilities face, the situation actually stands at a 66% bed occupancy rate.
The Bed Occupancy rate varies across the districts, with places like Ugu and uMgungundlovu districts, and eThekwini under pressure.
Additionally, she emphasised relatively sparsely populated districts such as Umzinyathi, Harry Gwala, Amajuba, Zululand, and uMkhanyakude saw a low bed occupancy rate.
The MEC points out that these variations in the bed occupancy rates among districts mean the province still has 34% of its beds unoccupied; which allows for the intra-district transfer of COVID-19 patients where the need arises.
Adding input on behalf of Mediclinic Southern Africa, Dr Gerrit de Villiers, Group General Manager, says, “It is important to note that hospital bed capacity and the number of patients at a facility remains fluid and changes on a continuous basis. This dynamic situation is continuously monitored across all bed types and across all hospitals to ensure the optimal use of available resources and continuity of patient care.”
Regarding Newcastle, Dr de Villiers elaborates, “Mediclinic Newcastle currently has 56 COVID patients, and they are being cared for in various COVID-units in accordance with the level of care their condition requires.”
He stresses that Mediclinic can confirm their hospitals across the country currently have the capacity. However, it is imperative to note that COVID-19 tends to place increased demand on critical care resources.
In strict accordance with NICD and National Department of Health protocols, Mediclinic Newcastle has implemented the necessary measures to manage any patients presenting symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection and to prevent the potential transmission of the virus in their facilities.
Rumour management and correction is the responsibility of reputable media houses. Thus we hope this clears up any confusion surrounding the topic for Newcastillians
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Authors: Quinton Boucher and Calvin Swemmer
Edited Calvin Swemmer