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Covid investment a success – Premier

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Premier Zamani Saul said the the R500 million investment in the provincial healthcare system had borne the fruit required to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

File picture: Silas Camargo Silão/Pixabayhospital beds; empty hospital ward

THE NORTHERN Cape provincial government indicated that the R500 million investment in the provincial healthcare system had borne the fruit required to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Northern Cape Premier, Dr Zamani Saul, during a press conference on the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, stated that millions had been spent, which include the appointment of additional medical staff, vehicles and resources to strengthen the Department of Health’s response to assist communities in all districts in the Province.

“The Department of Health, together with our stakeholders, have prepared in excess of

3 300 beds, including Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Care capacity, with a huge investment in staffing, equipment and vehicles. In December we commissioned 75 new emergency vehicles, including 65 ambulances and 10 patient transport vehicles as well as 55 clinical outreach vehicles, to strengthen the response capacity of public health care to communities in the Province.

“We appointed 424 clinical professionals, ranging from medical officers, pharmacists, nurses and allied health professionals in all districts, at an annual cost of R197 million. We invested heavily in additional medical equipment to combat the pandemic, including 35 ventilators, 16 blood gas analysers, 225 constant positive airways pressure (CPAP) machines, 2 268 infusion pumps and 107 automatic defibrillators. The cost of this investment is R120 million,” said Saul.

He added that medical specialists were also appointed to assist the Province in the fight against Covid-19.

“We received 11 Hugh Reese Cuban Brigade doctors, health technologists, an epidemiologist and a bio-statistician who have contributed greatly in our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Saul said the additional resources had assisted the Province in flattening the curve of infections.

“The Province experienced a delayed increase compared to the national average. As the Northern Cape, we experienced a flattened peak where we recorded during Week 30, which was the week ending on July 26, 2020, a high of 1 552 new cases. Our highest peak in the Province was during Week 38 which was from September 14 until 20, 2020, when we recorded 1 644 new cases for that week.

“The first wave was officially over during Week 46 which ended on November 9, 2020 when we reached 328 new cases for the Province. During the first wave we recorded a total number of 22 725 Covid-19 cases and 301 fatalities,” he said.

He added that additional measures were implemented when the second wave hit.

“The second wave started during the week of December 14, 2020 when we saw an increase of 425 new cases. There was a speedy escalation which went into 2021 where we found a consecutive weekly increase of 706 and 1 041 new cases. In January 2021, we started with a record weekly high of 1 727 cases on January 10, 2021 and again a new weekly record of 1 898 cases by January 17, 2021. In summary, for January 2021, a record 6 762 new Covid-19 cases were reported.

“These cases were higher than any month since the pandemic started in March 2020. This translated into a daily average of 218 new cases. During the past week, January 25 until 31, 2021, the Province recorded 1 048 new cases which is 26% lower than the previous week,” he said.

Saul said the mortality rate is also low.

“We are doing extremely well where our mortality rate is 1,8% compared to the country’s mortality rate of 3,1%. As a Province, we have recorded 595 deaths to date, where we should have had a total number of deaths of 998.

Clearly the second wave is being brought under control through the collective efforts and

sterling work being done by our healthcare workers, support staff and stakeholders,” he said.

He, however ,warned residents to continue to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations and lockdown restrictions.

“We are not out of the woods as yet and we have to prepare for the third wave,” he said, adding that they have identified and are monitoring municipal areas that have been identified as possible hotspot areas.

“The areas of concern in our Province are Phokwane in Frances Baard, Gamagara and Gasegonyana in John Taolo Gaetsewe (JTG), Emthanjeni, Siyathemba and Siyancuma in Pixley ka Seme, Kgatelopele and Dawid Kruiper in ZF Mgcawu and Nama Khoi and Hantam in Namakwa. We are calling on our citizens to continue adhering to the measures and not to let their guard down,” said Saul.

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