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WC hospitals seeing about 570 admissions per day as COVID peak nears

South Africa has reported a staggering 14,046 in new confirmed cases in the last 24-hours alone.

'Quinton' the robot is being used at the Tygerberg Hospital to reduce the risk of health workers being exposed to COVID-19. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - The Western Cape Health Department is frantically trying to provide more beds for COVID-19 patients as the new variant of the virus tears through the nation like wildfire.

The province currently has the highest number of active cases and authorities say they're seeing around 570 hospital admissions across private and public facilities every single day.

The province suggested earlier this week that the peak would likely hit in the first week of January but that could change.

Western Cape Health's Sadiq Karrim said the rate of increase of new infections was alarming.

“Cases are still exponentially increasing and that’s why we’re trying to quickly bring online additional beds into the service platform. It’s hard to say at the moment when that peak is going to be, whether it’s early or mid-January, but at the moment we’re till noting a very exponential rise in our cases and hospitalisations.”

At the same time, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said research still needed to be done to establish the severity of the new variant driving the second wave of COVID-19 infections in the county.

South Africa has reported a staggering 14,046 in new confirmed cases in the last 24-hours alone.

KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng account for the majority of the cases.

The institute’s Professor Adrian Puren said it was extremely critical that South Africans obey lockdown restrictions.

“We’d like to test the serum, as we call it, of this particular variant to see if the binding and prevention of infection can be achieved.”

HEALTHCARE CRISIS

The South African Medical Association (Sama) is warning of a crisis in the healthcare system as the second wave of COVID-19 infections proves way worse than the first.

Healthcare workers are bearing the brunt of the second wave and the association is warning that access to adequate medical attention and supplies is becoming increasingly difficult.

An investigation by the Public Protector into 17 public health facilities recently revealed a shortage of personal protection equipment.

Sama chairperson, Angelique Coetzee, said that it was making frontline workers' lives incredibly difficult.

"If you don't have enough oxygen and you're a doctor and you don't have enough PPE or the correct PPE to wear and you need to choose between two patients lying in front of you, both of them needing oxygen - one a young person with his whole lie ahead of him, the other an elderly person but that person is maybe looking after her family or grandchildren - how do you make that choice?"

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