Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, says there is a need to urgently ensure that the outbreaks of the Coronavirus pandemic in the Eastern Cape are dealt with.
“We want to see the numbers subside in the Eastern Cape. We are going to have to find the cluster outbreaks and decrease the spread,” Mkhize said.
Speaking during his visit at Livingstone Hospital in the Eastern Cape, Mkhize said there are a few steps he wants to propose and support in order to move forward.
Mkhize said there are cluster outbreaks that they have to manage aggressively.
“If we don’t do so, that is the beginning of the pandemic getting out of control. It is still very possible that we can suppress this wave and therefore delay the resurgence. We do need to go out into the community and try to reduce this as much as possible,” Mkhize said.
Mkhize said where there is a challenge of the shortage of nurses, that will also need to be addressed.
“Staff exhaustion is an issue of major concern. It is not necessarily the work-load, but the emotional and mental well-being too. The worry of thinking you may infect your loved ones when returning home,” Mkhize said.
Mkhize thanked the frontline staff who have shown commitment in the battle against COVID-19, adding that the turnaround time for testing should not be delayed.
With regard to the PPEs, Mkhize said his department took a decision that for every facility, there should be an Occupational Health and Safety Committee consisting of staff, labour unions and management.
“The reason for this is that we had enough stock in some areas, but the distribution was a problem. I am happy there is no issue this time,” he said.
“We salute our healthcare heroes for the dedication that they have shown throughout the pandemic to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” Mkhize said.
He expressed concerns with regard to the behavior of people not adhering to the regulations.
Mkhize said business organisations that are not complying to COVID-19 prevention protocols should be closed down or fined.
He was visiting the Livingstone Hospital, accompanied by MEC Sindisiwe Gomba and the Mayor of Sarah Baartman, Khunjuzwa Eunice Kekana.
The Eastern Cape has for the past few weeks being experiencing surges in positive COVID-19 cases in a number of districts and sub-districts contributing to a 50% spike in week-to-week numbers.
This prompted urgent action by Minister Mkhize and the National Department of Health to meet with the Eastern Cape provincial government officials to discuss an action plan to deal with the rising case numbers.
Mkhize will continue his visit in the Eastern Cape with inspections of the Nelson Mandela Bay testing site, the Dora Ngiza Hospital and the VW field hospital.