Triage sites prepared in WC for COVID-19 patients

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape is gearing up for mass screenings of COVID-19 and finishing touches are being added to the first of its 17 triage centres.

The units are where potential cases of the novel coronavirus will be categorised by how serious they are.

READ: Khayelitsha first township in WC to report COVID-19 case

The province’s designated coronavirus testing centre is at Tygerberg Hospital.

The Western Cape has the second-highest number of patients infected with coronavirus in the country - there are now almost 400.

It’s also starting to see an uptick in local transmissions, prompting the need to prepare for mass community testing.

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said, “the local transmission cases were mostly private cases, so they went to private labs through their GPs, so we haven’t been able to understand the magnitude within our patients who normally attend the public facilities because there’s a lockdown, so it’s unlikely that they will just rock up at the facility to be tested.”

READ: Gauteng, Western Cape announce COVID-19 measures

The makeshift centre will also be able to examine and test patients suspected of being infected and if required, prepare them for admission to the main hospital.

Two booths will be set up for a full emergency intervention if necessary. 

The space can also be converted into a field hospital that can accommodate at least 50 beds.

Dr Dimitri Erasmus, Tygerburg hospital CEO said, “we are now moving into a proactive phase. This kind of facility was conceptualised when we were in the reactive phase when people presented themselves for testing. We are moving into a community-based testing phase from Monday, so that changes the whole model, and the rollout going forward.”

In the hospital itself, 320 beds are being prepared to treat COVID-19 patients, including isolation and ICU.

Nineteen patients have already been admitted for treatment - two of them to ICU.

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