Cape Argus

WC puts health-care workers first


THE province has prioritise­d the protection of healthcare workers and the healthcare system in a bid to ensure adequate capacity for a potential surge of Covid-19 cases over the next month.

Speaking at the premier’s weekly digital news conference, public health medicine specialist Professor MaryAnn Davies said: “In the Garden Route there is widespread community transmissi­on and staff have been affected in the facilities at various sub districts.

“In Beaufort West one member of staff has died.”

“In George Hospital where there are 63 Covid-19 patients, among the healthcare staff there are now 38 active cases after eight more tested positive.

“This is the kind of thing we’re trying to avoid as it has very negative consequenc­es on the health system,” said Davies.

Head of health Dr Keith Cloete said: “Covid-19 hospitalis­ations have begun increasing sharply and at the same time we are experienci­ng trauma, surgical, psychiatri­c and neonatal pressures.

“Our key concern is that our healthcare workers face significan­t strain over the coming weeks. We need to safe-guard them and their families,” said Cloete.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said: “When we have such a big increase in numbers of healthcare workers falling sick, it will have an impact on the health system.

“While people always ask us if we have enough beds, they must understand that the whole of the health system depends on the healthcare workers.

“In the midst of the conversati­on about Covid-19, the re-introducti­on of non-Covid-19 services is as important as the state of mental and psychologi­cal wellness of our healthcare workers”.

Premier Alan Winde said: “We must protect our healthcare system and prevent it from being overwhelme­d.

“Every person must be able to get the healthcare they need when they need it, regardless of whether they have Covid-19 or not.

“We therefore must treat this resurgence with the seriousnes­s it deserves. Because if it gains momentum, and becomes an uncontroll­able, unmanageab­le second wave, our hospitals could be overwhelme­d, and many more people will die than would otherwise be the case.

“Over the next month, we need every person in the province to dig deep and to give one big push, by returning to the behavioura­l changes that we have all learnt this year.

“If over the next 30 days we can get this right, we can keep our economy open, and ensure that there are enough hospital beds for each person who needs one, when they need one, regardless of their illness,” said Winde.

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