NICD: Hospitals should be prepared for COVID-19 fourth wave infections

National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) data shows there's been a 66% rise in the number of patients being hospitalised with the disease nationally over the past week.

FILE: A patient infected with COVID-19 at the Tembisa Hospital in Gauteng on 2 March 2021. Picture: Guillem Sartorio / AFP

CAPE TOWN - The South African Medical Association (Sama) said hospitals should by now be prepared for the COVID-19 fourth wave of infections.

National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) data shows there's been a 66% rise in the number of patients being hospitalised with the disease nationally over the past week.

A total of 3,517 people are currently being treated in hospital for COVID-19.

In his weekly newsletter on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said government had been preparing hospitals to admit more patients and are investigating how to quickly secure medication used in COVID-19 treatment.

Sama vice-chairperson, Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa, on Monday said healthcare facilities should be ready to take in more patients.

"The fourth wave has been pronounced long ago that it was coming. We're not sure what is the meaning of the statement from the president. In between the waves the expectation is that government needs to prepare for the next wave in terms of human capital and availability of oxygen in the hospitals."