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WC health workers continue to contract COVID-19 while army prepares to step in

There are now 1,019 health workers infected with the virus, higher than last week's figures, and because many are in isolation, this means they are out of the health system and not able to work.

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 - Officials on Wednesday said just over 1,000 healthcare workers had contracted COVID-19 in the Western Cape.

The provincial Department of Health said since November, more than 25 health workers had died.

There are now 1,019 health workers infected with the virus, higher than last week's figures, and because many are in isolation, this means they are out of the health system and not able to work.

ALSO READ: Concern as 761 WC healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19

Provincial head of health Dr Keith Cloete said more than 90 staff had been admitted to hospital in the past 14 days, some in critical care.

“One of the most traumatic things for the healthcare workers is coming in and hearing that your colleague has died after testing positive, but also hearing that they’ve been admitted in hospital and they’ve been moved to ICU.”

The Western Cape's recruitment drive for healthcare workers aims to recruit over 1,300 workers.

Over 500 applications were received, 485 offers were made and the first 80 started on Monday.

ALSO READ: More WC health workers contract COVID-19

Cloete said the military had confirmed that they would come on board as well and officials were working out details with them.

“We’re working it out with them… exactly how many doctors, nurses and to which places they will be deployed.”

Cloete said the provincial government had also asked them to support with transport-related matters.

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