Gauteng is in the process to increase the number of hospital beds as the peak of the second wave of Covid-19 is expected to hit the economic hub soon, with several hotspots emerging in townships.
Premier David Makhura yesterday said as a response to the pandemic, the province would add bed space and renew the contracts of health care workers whose contracts were coming to an end.
Makhura said the province was now better prepared than last year as more beds and employees were available.
The Nasrec Covid-19 field hospital, which has a capacity of 1,000 beds, is being expanded by another 500 beds. A hospital in Bronkhorstspruit, which will help relieve pressure on Mamelodi and Steve Biko Academic Hospital, was being completed, Makhura said.
He said the expansion of Nasrec would result in 500 quarantine beds being used to relieve pressure on Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
Makhura said hotspots had emerged in both high and low density communities across the province, including in townships such as Atteridgeville, Soshanguve, Tembisa, Mamelodi, Alexandra and parts of Soweto. Prof Bruce Mellado, a member of the premier’s advisory committee, yesterday said there were 300 active hotspots in the province, with a number of cases ranging from 100 to 1,000, in which the virus was spreading fast, with new hotspots being created daily.
“Atteridgeville, in Tshwane, the entire area has a number of hotspots … some of them are quite severe. Another area is Soshanguve, in Tshwane, where hotspots are emerging in a large geographical area,” Mellado said.
Mellado said Alexandra had emerged as a new hotspot in recent days. “This is an area of high density, which is a serious source for concern,” he said.
Other hotspots were in Soweto, mainly Zola, Protea and Pimville, Mellado said.
Tshwane mayor Randall Williams said the city had placed dedicated structures in place because the high number of Covid-19 infections had also made the capital a hotspot.
Makhura said Gauteng was yet to reach the peak of the second wave and that the next two weeks would be the most difficult for the province.
He said the past seven days had seen the number of infections doubling as the province had surpassed the daily infection record of 6,531, which was set in July last year during the peak of the first wave.