COVID-19: WC Health Dept increases bed capacity at hospitals

The department said by end of this week, they would have added 744 additional beds into the system and wanted to scale that up to 880 beds.

FILE: A hospital worker walks amongst patients in the COVID-19 ward at Khayelitsha Hospital, about 35km from the centre of Cape Town, on 29 December 2020. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Health Department on Tuesday said it had scaled up the number of beds at facilities as hospitalisations continued to rise.

The department said by end of this week they would have added 744 additional beds into the system and wanted to scale that up to 880 beds.

ALSO READ: UK approves Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine

More than 3,000 people are in hospital - 353 of them in ICU or high care in the province.

The health department said daily new COVID-19 cases in the province were almost two and a half times more than in the first wave peak.

Head of health Dr Keith Cloete said new hospital admissions had increased by 50% with deaths 22% higher than the first wave.

Cloete said they were at approximately 100 deaths a day, whereas before the number peaked at 50 deaths a day.

He said Cape Town continued to see steep increases, nearly double the number of new daily cases compared to the peak in the first wave.

“Every sub-district in the metro is above the first one except for Khayelitsha. Places like northern, eastern, western, and southern are approximately three times higher than what happened in the first wave,” he said.

READ: SA records 9,580 new COVID-19 cases

The department said rural districts had nearly two and half times more cases and noted that the Garden Route district was stabilising.

Cloete said as hospitalisations increased, the department had added more beds at facilities as they remained under pressure.

He said the department was preparing to add 136 beds in the metro, however, that did not depend on staffing capacity.

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.