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SA records close to 9,000 daily infections, death toll now sits at 2,844

The death toll has also risen to 2,844 with 95 deaths over the past 24-hour cycle.

Picture: 123rf.

JOHANNESBURG - The country has documented another record high of 8,728 infections, pushing the number of cases to 168,061.

The death toll has also risen to 2,844 with 95 deaths over the past 24-hour cycle.

Gauteng is on course for a difficult month as COVID-19 infections rise.

Health MEC Bandile Masuku said a bed management team had been appointed to ensure that no COVID-19 patients in need of hospitalisation were turned away.

Gauteng also has the highest number of active cases, with the number now close to 50,000.

It puts Gauteng at risk of becoming the epicentre of the virus as the rate of recoveries has also slowed down significantly.

Masuku said the province’s health care system had started to feel the pressure but the situation was still under control.

“We have formed a bed management team with the private sector and private health groups in Gauteng, which dynamically looks at the bed occupancy in all our facilities and be able to shift around patients and be able to direct EMS where they are supposed to be directed for the admission.”

He said they were also working well with private health facilities to increase capacity: “We have an agreement that we have signed with the private hospital groups, which had made available almost 8,330 beds that were dedicated for COVID-19.”

Masuku has cautioned against the spread of fake news, citing a recent WhatsApp message making the rounds that falsely claims that COVID-9 patients in need of assistance are being sent away at hospitals in the province.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape will need at least 2,000 fewer hospital beds to treat COVID-19 patients than what was originally projected.

The latest models also suggest a lower but longer-lived peak, that's likely to hit from the end of July or beginning of August.

So far, 1,925 COVID-19 patients in the province succumbed to the disease, while 65,841 have contracted the coronavirus.

In April, an analysis showed 6,304 hospital beds would be needed at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May, a National COVID-19 Epi Model (NCEM) projected 7,800 beds would be needed to treat patients.

Now, more than a month on and with the benefit of a lot more data to plug into the complex models, the predictions have changed for the better.

Health department officials said if the pandemic's current trajectory holds, the province would need 5,450 beds at the peak.

Provincial head of health Keith Cloete said that would mean the province would actually have more beds than what is needed.

“The deficits for critical care have now decreased to 550, so we actually in balance have more beds than we need and that's an overprovision scenario, but we can now calibrate across this to make sure we can manage across this to make sure that we can manage what's coming at us over the next coming weeks."

Cloete said the three intermediate care facilities, the Cape Town International Convention Centre's Hospital of Hope, Brackengate and Thusong Centre play an essential role in decongesting the system's acute care provision for COVID-19 treatment.

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