South Africa is expected to run out of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients within the next four weeks. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said during a parliamentary briefing on Wednesday, July 8.

Mkhize said this scarcity is despite the rate of infection being lower than predicted.

“Model projections indicate that while the epidemic is predicted to peak nationally at a similar time to the previously projected optimistic curve (that is July to mid-August), it does so at a lower level,” he said. “This means that fewer people were infected in May and June than was previously initially predicted even under the optimistic scenario.

“While the model projects a lower need for hospital non-ICU and ICU beds at a national level, bed capacity is still expected to be breached or overwhelmed in all provinces.

“Currently, planned hospital beds in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng are projected to be insufficient for combined non-ICU bed demand and the overflow from ICU once ICU capacity has been breached. Bed capacity… is expected to be breached in the next four weeks.”

The minister explained that the health department’s surge strategy involved repurposing 27 467 hospital beds to bring the total number of beds for COVID-19 patients in the country to 40 309.

Further to this, 4831 health workers have tested positive for the virus thus far.

South Africa is steadily moving towards the peak of the virus, predicted for August. Mkhize urges all citizens to work together to fight it.

“The storm that we have consistently warned South Africans about is now arriving. As a nation we have every reason to be united in this fight against COVID-19. We dare not be divided,” he said. “We need all political parties, social partners and every citizen to come on board. As we continue this battle, we look beyond our differences and ensure that wherever we are, we and those around us, change our behaviour and observe all measures announced to contain the spread of this virus.”

The country now has 224 665 confirmed cases, with 106 842 recoveries and 3602 total deaths (an additional piece of data was processed after the initial report was released, adding two more deaths). Gauteng has now overtaken Western Cape as the province with the highest numbers of cases cumulatively.

Also read: These Cape suburbs have the most COVID-19 cases

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by