Cape Town to close temporary Covid-19 hospital amid admissions drop

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says many areas in the province have passed its peak following a decline in hospitalisations, deaths, and the percentage of positive tests overall.

“The combined capacity of hospitals in the Cape Town metro, including non-Covid-19 patients is stable at 69%,” Winde said during his weekly update.

Meanwhile, the Hospital of Hope at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), which has a capacity of 864 beds, will now close its doors.

According to Winde, the field hospital currently has 57 admissions, down from 91 last week.

“Given the capacity in our health platform, the decline of cases in the metro, in particular, the expiry of the contract to use CTICC in September and the low number of admissions at our field hospitals generally, we have taken the decision to decommission the CTICC facility.”

He said the province has adequate capacity at the 330-bed Brackengate facility to accommodate patients should the need arise.

“The last patient date for the CTICC will be 8 August, with the aim of closing the facility by mid-September. Patients will start being moved to Brackengate facility, which assumes the title of our Hospital of Hope from 14 August.”

Once the country’s epicentre of the outbreak, the hospital welcomed 1 502 patients for treatment, discharging 1,440 patients (95%) to date.

“Unfortunately, 82 people died at the facility,” he said.

He believes the state-of-the-art temporary hospital built to deal with the influx of patients made a remarkable difference to the province’s Covid-19 response, allowing acute care capacity free up at main hospitals.

“In doing so, it has saved the lives of many people in our province.”

The Premier has expressed his gratitude to every nurse, official, doctor, cleaner and admin clerk involved in this Hospital of Hope.

“I want you to know that you will all go down in history for what you have done for the people of the Western Cape. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.

Prevent the second wave

As of Thursday, the Western Cape was the third-worst affected province with 100 976 infections with the highest number of deaths sitting at 3,506.

He is pleading with the citizens to prevent the second wave of infections by changing their behaviour.

“As we have seen in other places around the world, Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon. Until such stage, as there is a vaccine, there is a potential for new waves of Covid-19 infections.”

He said they are also continuing with their hotspot containment strategy, centred on effecting the behaviour change needed to prevent new waves.

“For this to be successful, we need the help of every person and business. We have to continue to follow the golden rules at all times, otherwise Covid-19 infections will start to increase again,” he pleaded.

He has urged people to continue with non-pharmaceutical ways to prevent the virus by wearing a clean cloth mask whenever in public, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the corner of your arm and keeping a distance from others, of at least 1.5 metres.

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser and properly clean surfaces around you, he added.

“If you are diabetic, and you start getting sick, you must get tested right away. If you are battling to breathe, you must seek urgent healthcare,” he said.

Read: Ramaphosa expected to announce eased lockdown: reports

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Cape Town to close temporary Covid-19 hospital amid admissions drop