By Estelle Ellis• 22 June 2020
Hospitals in Nelson Mandela Bay were implementing emergency plans on Monday as the number of coronavirus cases in the metro neared 5,000 and was expected to double in the next 10 days.
All private hospitals in Nelson Mandela Bay have suspended non-urgent surgeries and admissions and two are bringing staff from other provinces as facilities are hit by a double crisis – an increasing number of healthcare professionals falling ill and a rising demand for high-care and intensive care beds.
Premier Oscar Mabuyane said on Monday 22 June that 15,751 people in the Eastern Cape had tested positive for the coronavirus. With 8,035 people having recovered that left 7,716 active cases and 285 deaths.
The province’s biggest metro, Nelson Mandela Bay, had 4,706 positive cases, of whom 2,116 had recovered and 86 deaths.
Professor Lungile Pepeta, the dean of the Department of Health Sciences at Nelson Mandela University, said the community in Nelson Mandela Bay needed to join forces and fight the pandemic using all their combined resources.
“We are perishing in our silos,” he said. “Some private hospitals are full and others are filling up. People with medical aids have to look for help at the state hospitals. The state hospitals will be full soon. In 10 days we are going to need maybe 100 ICU beds in the metro – where are we going to find those?”
He proposed the urgent establishment of an operations committee for the metro, joining business, healthcare facilities, civil society, the university and the labour unions.
“We must get the expertise of the private colleagues to set up the right systems for us. This is not a time to be negative, but we all know we don’t have the right systems. We need collaboration and cooperation – and we need unity.