WESTERN CAPE NEWS - Western Cape premier, Alan Winde, paid tribute to all the staff working behind the scenes to support healthcare workers in the fight against Covid-19.
The premier said in a media release earlier today, that he would "...like to pay tribute to all of those people working behind the scenes to ensure that our frontline staff have the tools and equipment to save lives and to protect themselves..."
According to the statement:
While our healthcare workers are fighting Covid-19 on the front lines, there are teams of officials working behind the scenes to ensure that our systems are running optimally, and we have all the necessary supplies. The Department of Health's purchasing teams have worked throughout the festive period, a time when many suppliers were closed for the holidays.
An example of this is the purchase of patient trolleys which are an essential item to ensure sick patients can be treated while waiting to be admitted. Days before New Year’s Eve, the teams got the suppliers to open their doors, calling their staff back from leave, to deliver the necessary trolleys by 2 January.
Since the start of the pandemic, our supply chain management teams have also been liaising directly with manufacturers to ensure continuity of supply of respirators and sufficient PPE supplies.
Since the beginning of the pandemic the department procured over 19 million pairs of gloves, over 10 million masks, and millions of other PPE items. Through proactive procurement, based on current figures, the department projects adequate buffer stock for the next 3 months.
The Western Cape Department of Health also needed to move its bulk storage facility to new premises at Tygerberg Hospital. This involved moving over 1000 pallets of PPE, while also refurbishing the new warehouse. Between 15 December and New Year’s weekend 850 pallets were moved to a refurbished bulk PPE Store on the Tygerberg Hospital campus and ten dedicated individuals worked throughout the New Year's weekend to ensure the new stores were ready to operate.
As we have opened up additional beds, installed additional bulk oxygen tanks and new wards, we also required additional nursing staff, cleaning staff and security. These must be appointed on contract and follow strict regulations. Ad hoc quotation committees and bid adjudication committees, in line with supply chain processes, were therefore convened at extremely sourt notice to provide necessary governance and oversight of the procurement processes. Interventions with nursing agencies took place to assist in placement of nurses (particularly in rural areas). Processing these also took place in record time.
Co-ordinating our provincial response to Covid-19 is a mammoth task involving thousands of people and many moving parts. I would therefore like to pay tribute to all of those people working behind the scenes to ensure that our frontline staff have the tools and equipment to save lives and to protect themselves, and that we are appointing additional frontline workers to boost our response.
Update on the coronavirus
As of 13:00 on 11 January, the Western Cape has 44 303 active Covid-19 infections with a total of 240 233 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 187 611 recoveries.
The Western Cape has recorded 141 additional deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 8319. We send our condolences to their loved ones at this time.
Additional data is available on the Western Cape Covid-19 data dashboard which also features active cases per sub-district, active cases per 100 000 and 7-day moving averages. Access the data dashboard here.
Due to a data delay, and a difference in timing in when the data for this statement was accessed, there is a slight difference in the data presented here and the data on the dashboard today. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Garden Route District cases and (recoveries):
- Bitou - 2491 (2121)
- George - 10819 (9419)
- Hessequa - 1583 (1066)
- Kannaland - 656 (445)
- Knysna - 4474 (3962)
- Mossel Bay - 6686 (5718)
- Oudtshoorn - 3430 (2749)
Stellenbosch hospital visit
This morning, I had the opportunity to visit Stellenbosch Hospital to see the innovative steps they have taken in the fight against Covid-19.
The team at the facility have turned a training facility into a 25 bed Covid-19 ward, creating a separate space for Covid-19 patients. About half of these beds are currently in use.
In their testing facility, doctors designed a system to improve testing safety and reduce donning and doffing of PPE. This includes the use of negative air pressure in the consultation rooms and using a physical glass barrier between the person conducting the test and the person being tested.
A patient will sit on one side of this barrier, and the healthcare worker on the other. The person conducting the test will insert their hands into gloves to conduct the test. The patient will then on their side package the test sample, sanitise their hands and hand it back.
Hospital management have indicated that this has worked well in practice and it has reduced the need for full PPE. This is an added bonus as the team are currently testing more people than they did in the first wave.
The hospital also works closely with hospitals in the surrounding areas, including Paarl and Sonstraal hospitals, to ensure that those who need additional care, or step-down facilities, are transported by EMS staff.
I would like to thank all of the staff at the Stellenbosch hospital, and the EMS teams, for the dedication and care with which they have served their community.
Throughout the pandemic, we have seen how healthcare workers and officials have innovated to improve the system in a way that will create a lasting legacy in our healthcare system. This kind of innovation makes us better and more responsive as a government.
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