Region not hit by third wave yet but cases rising

The Department of Health launched a Covid-19 vaccine registration service available through WhatsApp and USSD.
Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Although the Chris Hani district is experiencing resurgence in Covid-19 cases, the good news is that it has not been hit by the third wave just yet.

However, out of the 117 active cases in the district at the time of going to print, Inxuba Yethemba had 58 cases and Enoch Mgijima 42, a warning sign for people to take precautionary measures.

Emalahleni and Ngcobo had six cases each, Intsika Yethu three and Sakhisizwe two.

Chris Hani health district chief director Sindiswa Tywabi said there only 16 admissions in the 270 beds set aside for Covid-19 patients in the district health facilities.

The insufficient oxygen brought about by the high hospital admissions in some areas was not a challenge at the moment, but Tywabi said they monitoring it closely.

”We had a coronavirus delta variant presentation this morning [Wednesday] in the province

announced by health expert Professor Tulio de Oliveira. They are beginning to see the variant, but it is in the Gqeberha area. The sequencing is still in the Nelson Mandela Bay and Sarah Baartman areas. We have not received any confirmation from other areas.

”It is creeping into the province. People must comply with the level four adjusted restrictions, but also note that the delta variant is easily transmissible.”

There has been speculation on whether those who have had the vaccination can still succumb to death as result of Covid-19.

Tywabi said: ” We have not heard of an incident of someone who has received a vaccination dying from Covid-19 at the moment, but we are monitoring it. Whenever there is a death we ask if the person had been vaccinated.”

A problem though, for front liners, is the issue of staff shortages. One of the nurses at Frontier Hospital told The Rep four nurses had to do the work that required eight.

The chief director said: “They are correct, but it is not only Frontier Hospital or the district that is experiencing staff shortages, it is the entire country. We lost a number of health care workers from Covid-19, others through resignation and some transferred to other areas. Those posts were never filled. ”

She said the department had renewed the contract of the health care workers for contact workers who were not professional nurses but could assist in dealing with patients.

”It is mostly community health workers, those in cleaning services for infection control and some are data capturers. What the staff are complaining about is nurses to take care of patients. The department has allowed us to fill the posts that were vacated from April 1 this year.”

But these few posts would not improve the situation as there were more vacated positions from last year, she said.

”There are discussions between the province and the treasurer with respect to funding for those posts.

“The treasury continues to say there is no money, but the provincial department of health is not going to give up. We understand the predicament the healthcare workers are facing, but we continue to appreciate their efforts, especially that now they are not only looking after Covid-19 patients . There is also a vaccination programme taking place in the same facility.”

However, with the additional vaccination sites in the rest of the district hospitals instead of just depending on All Saints, Frontier, Hewu and Cradock the staff would gain more relief. ”Vaccination will improve a great deal. All the other district hospitals will receive their vaccines in the next day or two and we will start vaccination Monday. The registration for people of 50-plus will begin on Thursday, July1, and the vaccination is expected to begin in mid-July.” said Tywabi.

Life Healthcare communication coordinator Siphokazi Nxopo said Covid-19 admissions to Life Queenstown Private Hospital in Komani was relatively low at present, but increasing. Their hospitals were currently coping.

 

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