WC hospitals using less oxygen as number of COVID-19 patients decreases

Almost 1,500 COVID-19 patients are currently being treated in hospital and 273 of them are in ICU or high care.

A row of beds at the CTICC COVID-19 field hospital. Image: Premier Alan Winde/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape hospitals are using less oxygen, another sign that COVID-19 patient numbers are decreasing.

Almost 1,500 COVID-19 patients are currently being treated in hospital and 273 of them are in ICU or high care.

The COVID-19 infection rate in regions hard hit by the pandemic is now slowing down.

This view is supported by declining oxygen usage at hospitals, because it shows fewer patients are in need of additional oxygen support.

Provincial Health Department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said two weeks ago, the province used about 60% of available oxygen supply.

“Last week, the utilisation was running at under 29 a day, which comes to about 58% of our available capacity. And this week, our usage is 55.6%. So, there is a further reduction in demand.”

He gave an example of how demand for high-flow nasal oxygen therapy has dropped.

“Six weeks ago, we started off at about 36% of utilisation. This week, it is down to above 20%, showing a gradual decrease in demand.”

Similar reductions have been seen at other hospitals in Cape Town, Paarl, Worcester and Khayelitsha.

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.