COVID-19 second wave is 'five times more intense' that the first in Limpopo

Acting deputy director general for healthcare services Dr Abrey Lekoloana said they were planning for a worst-case scenario where new cases rise to 30,000 a week.

FILE: Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba. Picture: Limpopo Department of Health (Bophelo)/Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - Limpopo health authorities said the province was being hard hit by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and its resources were being stretched to the limit.

Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba and health department officials have been briefing Parliament’s health portfolio committee on Thursday.

Limpopo got off relatively lightly during the first wave of the pandemic last year, but the second wave is five times more intense, according to health officials.

READ: Limpopo residents urged to stop attending funerals en masse as COVID cases spike

Acting deputy director general for healthcare services Dr Abrey Lekoloana said they were planning for a worst-case scenario where new cases rise to 30,000 a week.

He said the number of new cases might peak in two to three weeks’ time, but there would still be a high number of cases and hospitalisations until the end of February.

“So, the need for additional resources cannot be overemphasised, just for the department to cope with the second wave.”

He said rolling out the COVID vaccine would also require extra resources.

READ: Limpopo health dept concerned about bed capacity as COVID cases mount

Ramathuba said the province returned unspent funds to the National Treasury after the first wave left Limpopo relatively lightly affected.

Now, it wants that money back: “We presented to them yesterday that the money we returned to you must come back to us. Because we made savings with the first wave. Currently, we are in another pandemic, this is a resurgence, which is much more brutal than the first one – we need our resources.”

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