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NC Health dept preparing for ‘peak’

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The Northern Cape Department of Heal is preparing for a peak in infections in the Province around August and September.

MEC of Health Mase Monnapule. Picture: Soraya Crowie

WHILE President Cyril Ramaphosa is considering a proposal to move the country to Level 3 of the national Covid-19 lockdown by the end of this month, the Northern Cape Department of Health is preparing for a peak in infections in the Province, expected around August and September.

Speaking during a television interview, the MEC for Health in the Province, Mase Manopole, said her department was trying very hard to ensure that all systems were in place so that it was ready for the peak.

“We expect the peak to come around August and September in our Province. I can confidently say that should it happen that we need to admit 200 to 300 patients we will be able to do so. We have trained all our nurses and doctors in preparation for case management in our Province,” said Manopole.

Discussing the state of readiness of the health system in the Province to deal with the virus should the number of infections increase, Manopole said that 1 306 beds had been identified for quarantine use while there were 605 hospital beds across the Province in the five districts.

“We are working towards improving our number of hospital beds, hence we are continuously looking at identifying sites to put up field hospitals in the areas that have been identified as potential hot spots,” she added.

Manopole said that the provincial Department of Health was working in consultation with private hospitals. “These beds are from both the private and public sector.”

She added that the department had appointed 286 medical officers in the Province, as well as nurses and auxiliary health professions.

During her interview, Manopole remained adamant that those in the Province who needed to be tested, were.

She stated that the reasons why the number of positive cases in the Province was so low was because the Department of Health had undertaken mass screening. “This ensures that we pick up any cases,” Manopole said, adding that there was also a lot of education awareness, while the people of the Province adhered to the lockdown. “This helps to ensure that we flatten the curve.”

She dismissed allegations that many cases went unreported as “unscientific”.

“We have done 732 000 screenings and 2 805 tests. One can clearly see that our screening is high and those who qualify to be tested are testing. We are going out there and getting the people who are potentially having the virus and isolating them.”

She confirmed further that the Province’s detection rate was on par with that suggested by virologists. “We have done 2 800 tests and we have 30 cases. That shows that we are testing the right people. The number of cases are rising so we will now ensure that we test our hot spots.”

Regarding concerns whether miners returning from other provinces had been properly screened and tested, Manopole said that a meeting had been held two weeks ago with Anglo American, which owns three mines in the Northern Cape.

“They outlined to us the plans for testing and screening as well as their isolation and quarantine sites. They have also procured mobile labs and provided an additional mobile laboratory to test members of the surrounding community.”

With regard to other mines in the Province, Manopole said some screening had been done while nine tests had also been done, all of which came back negative.

“But they are continuously screening and we are in constant contact with the mines and have requested daily updates so that we can monitor the situation. I am happy with the precautionary measures that have been put in place.”

According to the latest figures released by the national Department of Health, the Northern Cape has 30 people who have tested positive to Covid-19, of which 17 have recovered.

“Thirty people is equivalent to 24 positive people for every one million population,” the department said on its Facebook page. “This compares favourably with Gauteng (133 per million), KwaZulu-Natal (123 per million) and Free State (47 per million). However, the Province has more positive people per million than Mpumalanga (14 per million), North West (13 per million) and Limpopo (9 per million).”

Meanwhile, the department also announced yesterday that the Second Eye Resort will be used as a Covid-19 quarantine facility.