Dr Nathi Mdladla, an associate professor and chief intensivist at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital and Sefako Makgatho University has stated that more resources would be needed to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the biggest problem at the moment was testing.
Mdladla said there were probably more Covid-19 negative people under investigation who were dying while waiting for their results than those who had tested positive.
He said testing would cause the biggest bottleneck in the system.
“We closed down half of the hospital to convert it to a Covid-29 facility. That part of the hospital is only 40% functional at the moment, with the various issues that come with it.
“Testing is probably the biggest bottleneck until we get the capacity reached for the other parts of the hospital.”
Mdladla highlighted the fact that the lockdown had not worked out as it should have.
“As we get deeper into the colder months, which force people to be even less able to move around, those restrictions of physical distancing become less possible to maintain.”
He said while the rest of the world had increased restrictions in concert with the impending level of danger, South Africa had done the reverse – as the number of cases increased, the economy opened with fewer restrictions.
Mdladla said, practically, there was no lockdown, and with limited restrictions the country risked high infections it was not ready for.
He added that in terms of the reintroduction of stricter regulations of lockdown, the timing would not be right at this stage.
“We have lost control of limiting the spread of the disease.
“We may introduce further lockdown, but the damage that it is going to cause in the long-term would be much more significant.”
He said the first thing to put things right was to negotiate with private institutions in terms of extra capacity of beds and available ICU space.
With regards to extra resources of high-flow nasal oxygen, all stocks were depleted, he said.
Mdladla said some private institutions had the equipment, and government was going to either have to borrow from them or send patients to private institutions.
“We need to maximise resources; Cape Town has taught us that lesson and we have delayed the process far too long.
“When the storm hit Cape Town, everyone was wondering what they did wrong and what they had missed,” he said.
Mdladla said this was because Cape Town was two weeks ahead of Gauteng in terms of the peak of the normal flu season.