More Health Workers Employed To Fight Against COVID-19

In efforts to fight against the second wave of the coronavirus in SA, a new cohort of health workers is set to assist the healthcare system in the New Year. 

On Tuesday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that more than 4 000 new healthcare workers have been employed to help fight against the coronavirus. This comes a day after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would be moving to an adjusted level 3 lockdown. 

“It will greatly assist us to welcome, in a few days, 2 367 medical interns, 1 693 medical community service practitioners who will form part of a 7 895 strong community service workforce from all categories." said the Minister. 

He said that this will provide relief to the exhausted frontline workers. 

This announcement was made after South Africa surpassed the one million mark for COVID-19 cases, with 1 011 871 cumulative cases reported on Monday. 

The country has also surpassed the peak of the first wave which compelled the government to move to the adjusted level 3 lockdown. 

Both public and private hospitals were put under immense pressure with the amount of patients showing up.

The majority of new cases are from KwaZulu-Natal with 2 275 (30,5%) followed by the Western Cape at 2 191 cases (29,4%), Gauteng at 1 849 cases (24,8%) and the Eastern Cape at 384 cases (5,1%).

The overall positivity rate for newly tested individuals is 32,9%, with the Western Cape at 45,6%, followed by Limpopo at 41,0%, KwaZulu-Natal at 36,0% and Mpumalanga at 33,1%.

The Minister said that these positivity rates are alarmingly high and is a cause for major concern. 

"Overall we need to test more and target a positivity rate of 10% or less.  [In addition], 11 256 patients are currently hospitalised- this is 8,3 % of our active cases. Of these 3 543 are on oxygen and 604 are on ventilators,” said the Minister. 

Healthcare facilities have been unhappy with the lack of personal protective equipment provided by the government.  

To tackle the shortages of PPE, Mkhize has encouraged trade unions to access the dashboard and use the Stock Visibility System to monitor availability.

“Currently, overall availability of PPE is at 87.1%. We encourage unions to access the dashboard and use the Stock Visibility System to assist us with stock surveillance and movement and continue to be active participants in OHS committees as was jointly resolved over the course of the pandemic,” the Minister said. 

The Minister urged citizens to comply with the safety protocols so that non-COVID related services could continue. 



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