Free State Health increases COVID-19 capacity at government hospitals

The Free State Health department will stop referring COVID-19 patients to private hospitals as the department is opening more facilities.

Premier Sisi Ntombela says the 113-bed facility at the Pelonomi Hospital will assist in caring for patients in the province.

The Free State Department of Health is continuing to up its capacity to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic as more infections are expected with the country’s move to Level 2 lockdown.

The coronavirus surge unit named Omolemo Ward with 113 beds was launched at Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein.

Ntombela says the province cannot relax but plan ahead. Ntombela says she is impressed with the way the province is conducting itself to mitigate the unexpected new wave of the pandemic.

“Now all the private sector quarantine sites it’s an instruction they must close we are going to use our own. So I don’t think it’s necessary for us now to use private quarantine. All the people that are in the private quarantine must come to the government quarantine. We have enough space and they are fine. We have renovated them, they are nice, they’re comfortable. And here at the hospitals, we have extra beds they can even come here and quarantine,” says Ntombela.

Community members are however still concerned about the prevalence of the disease.

“Just because we are Level 2 now it doesn’t mean corona is not here, it’s serious. It’s dangerous,” says a community member.

“Now it’s going to be more serious because of the children. We can’t control the children, they share everything. When the child comes home you won’t know what is going to happen to us,” says another community member.

Last week another 163-bed surge unit was opened in Universitas Hospital.

Provincial Health MEC Montsheng Tsiu says the province’s largest field hospital is under construction with almost 1 000 beds.

“We are preparing for the surge that might happen. We are getting extra beds for our patients, our COVID-19 patients here in Pelonomi because we know that at this point in time the curve is going down. We are not getting many people that are positive, there’s above 60% that already have recovered but we are however getting more beds. Because we are saying should we find the graph going up again, especially now that we are at alert Level 2, which might increase the number of people that will be positive we should have beds, we should not run out of beds,” says Tsiu.

As part of the fight to combat COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health received a R1.6 million donation of PPEs from Mediclinic Private Care Hospital.

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