Oxygen supplies in Gauteng remain stable amid third wave

Oxygen supplies at Gauteng hospitals remain stable, despite the province being battered by a third wave of the coronavirus

As of Sunday, 1 564 Covid-19 patients were receiving oxygen assistance in the province, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases’ (NICD) daily hospital surveillance report. Of these, 943 patients are in private hospitals and 621 in the public sector. 

Kwara Kekana, the spokesperson for health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi, told the Mail & Guardian on Monday that the oxygen supplier for the Gauteng health department, Afrox, had “assured security of oxygen supply for our hospitals at the moment”.

“Afrox has committed to oxygen security during this wave as they have in the past two wave[s],” said Kekana. 

The security of oxygen supply is monitored weekly.

Also on Monday, Mokgethi said that, although the province’s health system was under pressure, “we still have the will and enough capacity to cope with the demand”. 

“We are adding more healthcare personnel to make sure more available beds are fully functional,” she said.  

In his weekly Monday newsletter, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged citizens to do all they could to limit the infection rate and death toll as the country battles the third wave. 

“The threat to health and lives is evident as people become ill and some die. So we must do what we can, as individuals, as families and communities, as unions and employers, and as government, to limit the toll,” Ramaphosa wrote. 

“We must act with great discipline to protect our people and our livelihoods,” he continued. 

More than a month has passed since phase two of the countrywide vaccination campaign began, but only 2.1-million vaccines have been administered, of which 474 000 took place under the Sisonke Johnson & Johnson study.  

The basic education sector is set to begin vaccinating just more than 500 000 employees at public and private institutions on Wednesday in a voluntary campaign. 

Ramaphosa again reminded citizens to avoid social gatherings, wear masks, and maintain social distance. 

The president confirmed the high numbers of Covid-19 infections in Gauteng, saying that “new cases exceeded the peak in both previous waves, and it has not started to decline yet”.

Gauteng recorded a daily record on 16 June when 7 859 cases were reported.

Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced on Friday that the South African Military Health Service had been deployed to the province to assist with mass testing, screening and contact tracing. 

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