NMB hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 surge

Covid-19 continues to expose the gaps in our public health system. Overcrowding is a death trap for the poor seeking help in public hospitals. Many are dying in the corridors. This as South Africa faces a possible second wave of Covid-19. #eNCA Courtesy #DStv403

PORT ELIZABETH - Government says reckless behaviour has led to hospital beds being fully occupied in Nelson Mandela Bay.

A resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the metro has resulted in increased deaths. 

The ripple effect of COVID-19's resurgence in Nelson Mandela Bay can be seen in the increasing numbers of staff who are testing positive for the coronavirus or showing signs of fatigue. Courtesy of #DStv403

The ripple effect of COVID-19's resurgence in the Bay can be seen in the increasing numbers of staff who are testing positive or showing signs of fatigue.

A shortage of oxygen only adds to the endless woes of public hospitals.

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Livingston Hospital's acting-CEO Dr Mthandeki Xamlashe said 80 percent of the people who go to ventilation and ICU's "we lose them. We lose half of the people who come to our wards."

Uitenhage Provincial Hospital's Dr David Veitch recalled how a woman died in a wheelchair while sitting in a crowd in the respiratory area.

"There was a 13-year-old boy lying in the bed next to her and another lady lying in the bed right next to her, also watching it as it happened," he said.

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Livingstone Hospital's Dr Emma Gardiner said it's extremely difficult for staff to stay in PPE and also to keep motivated.

"There's a very high burden of patients who are passing away and who are suffering and it's very difficult for some of our junior staff to carry that burden. So we actually need fresh legs."

Dr Gardiner continued, "in total, if you count everything together, we only have 26 spaces on this floor, so we have to sometimes make difficult choices. In our O&E side, we've been able to split the oxygen so we can provide more oxygen to patients coming in."

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While the metro has put measures in place to mitigate the impact of the second wave of COVID-19, these are proving useless against the behaviour of the residents.

Nelson Mandela Bay's district manager Darlene De Vos said, "COVID is real, COVID is dangerous, COVID can kill. On a daily basis over the past week, we had in excess of 10 deaths per day. The day before yesterday and this is only hospital deaths, 20 people died in our hospitals across the metro."

* eNCA's Aviwe Mtila reports.


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