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Safety of WC healthcare workers crucial as 51 more contract COVID-19

Western Cape health head Dr Keith Cloete said it was a nightmare for medical staff reliving another uptick in COVID-19 cases where no one was safe.

FILE: Snorkel masks protect healthcare personnel at Tygerberg Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Image: Western Cape Government.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Department of Health on Sunday said the safety of frontline workers remained pivotal, as hundreds have died of COVID-19 complications.

Coming to an end of a grim, mentally and physically challenging year - there's no reprieve for many, as healthcare staff help tame the flames of the second wave.

A new COVID-19 mutation - cited as the 501.V2 variant - has heightened fears.

Provincial health head Dr Keith Cloete said 51 staffers had hospitalised over the last two weeks.

“They have been through a year that has never been experienced by any healthcare worker in the country, and globally.”

Cloete said it was a nightmare for medical staff reliving another uptick in COVID-19 cases where no one was safe.

“Unfortunately, five of those 51 have died. The strain on healthcare workers is tremendous.”

And the number of patients continue to increase especially in the metro where the department is already dealing with staff shortages.

“As we open up capacity for COVID, the problem is that is comes as the number of healthcare workers that we have available to render the service is less because they’ve become infected.”

This also comes at a time when it's harder to find replacement staff.

Cloete said the department was exploring every option to get contract nurses, doctors and other medical staff to assist.

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