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Mkhize: Govt working with ventilator companies to increase production

The Health Minister visited the Dr George Mukhari Hospital in Pretoria with Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku to assess its state of readiness to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said government was working with companies manufacturing ventilators to increase the production of the machines as the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its peak.

However, Gauteng health facilities still have the capacity to take in COVID-19 patients despite seeing a spike in the number of patients being admitted.

He said one of the challenges hospitals were grappling with was the high volume of patients waiting in the emergency wards for their test results.

The minister visited the Dr George Mukhari Hospital in Pretoria with Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku to assess its state of readiness to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The current supplies of oxygen and medical facilities are less than what we will need at our peak,” he said.

Mkhize said ventilators were vital for the fight against COVID-19.

The country is now thought to be near the peak of the pandemic, with more than 103,000 people infected in the country.

Gauteng, the epicentre of the outbreak, accounts for 36% of the cases.

Mkhize said at the moment Gauteng had enough beds to cater for COVID-19 patients, but more were being produced to avoid a shortage in future.

“At the moment, we have not breached our bed capacity in Gauteng. What we have is that there is slow progress in moving people from observation wards to COVID wards.”

More than 4,600 people in Gauteng are currently in health facilities for COVID-19 in the private and public sector.

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