Cape Town convention centre will turn into a massive coronavirus hospital as Western Cape predicts bed shortage

The Western Cape provincial cabinet agreed to use the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)  as a temporary Covid-19 hospital, creating the capacity to care for an additional 800 people at the peak of the pandemic.

The province’s scenario planning has predicted a shortfall of 1,000 acute beds in the province at the peak of the pandemic. The use of the CTICC will allow the province to make up the majority of this shortfall- and allow us to render care to those who need it, said Western Cape premier Alan Winde.

Winde added that the province intends to make up the remainder of the shortfall with temporary beds in other facilities, in appropriate geographic locations.

The agreement allows the Western Cape Government to make use of the CTICC 1 building immediately up until 7 September, with an option to extend this on a month-to-month basis until the end of the year.

The CTICC has agreed to waive the hire cost of the venue, as part of its contribution to the fight against coronavirus. The temporary infrastructure build, operating and catering costs for the initial hire period will total approximately R47 million.

This amount excludes the costs that the Department of Health will incur in providing clinical equipment, oxygen, medication and temporary staff for the temporary hospital.

The intermediate care beds will cater for patients, presenting with milder clinical signs who need hospitalization and treatment including administration of oxygen. The CTICC will not provide for care for patients with more severe clinical signs, which will require intensive care treatment.

Security at the site will be provided by the CTICC and augmented by the City of Cape Town.

The site will be fitted out to be ready by the first week of June, well before the expected peak when these beds will be required.

The comprehensive layout of all the services which will be made available on site – including the beds, showers, nursing stations, support stations, physio stations, and bulk oxygen storage tank spaces, amongst others, – has already been prepared and as of today, is signed off for execution.

“The City of Cape Town and Western Cape Government are working together to ensure a proactive and effective response to the pandemic,” said Cape Town mayor Dan Plato.

“Due to the identified shortfall of hospital beds, we need to make use of the available resources at our disposal to adequately address the outbreak and to treat patients on a large-scale. This facility is well-placed with the necessary infrastructure to easily allow the site to be used as a temporary hospital.”

Read: New guidelines for face masks in South Africa – what you need to know

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Cape Town convention centre will turn into a massive coronavirus hospital as Western Cape predicts bed shortage