People die in their cars amid hospital carnage (Part 1)

Date: 04 Jul 2021

HEALTH experts can’t agree on when Gauteng will hit the peak of the third wave, but it appears lockdown level 4 is likely to be extended, as infections rise nationally.

Across the province health-care workers are taking a beating in the latest offensive launched by a virus that keeps mutating and bringing death. A matron from a Gauteng hospital this week spoke of how the current situation was different from the past two waves.

How mobile coldrooms now come to the back of the hospital to collect the dead because the mortuaries are full. And how the dead aren’t just counted in the wards, but in the hospital carpark.

“When I do my rounds in the mornings, it’s no longer weird and unusual to hear how many people have died during the night or the past 24 hours.

“I’m not only referring to deaths inside our hospital, but also people who died in private cars outside the emergency unit,” said the matron, who wished to remain anonymous, as she is not allowed to speak to the media.

“Family members stop their cars outside the unit and hysterically call for help, saying their loved ones need help or are ‘breathing funny’. Emergency staff frantically run to these cars to try and help. They rush these dying people inside to the resuscitation area, where

A MATRON at a leading private hospital has given a chilling account of her day-to-day life on the Covid-19 battlefield.

“I have no idea where to begin. The current situation is new for every healthcare worker. This is a totally different picture than we saw during the first and the second waves of the pandemic,” she said.

“Tents are being put up outside the hospital building to support a possible full emergency unit. Containers arrived in droves and were placed in the parking lot to test the public for Covid-19.”

She said emergency units are declared “red zones” and all other sections are full with Covid-19 patients. The matron said the past two weeks were hell in the private health sector.

"When you walk into a unit, you’re greeted with ‘welcome in the they try to save their lives – and fail.”

Gauteng is seeing record highs of infection and the vaccination drive, believe health professionals, isn’t enough as yet to halt the third wave.

“We are not doing well. Vaccines became available towards the end of 2020. Six months later, we still have not vaccinated enough people. We should’ve done better by now,” said GP, and Gauteng GP Collaboration member Dr Daniel Israel, who currently is diagnosing between 15 and 20 new Covid patients a day.

The slow vaccination rate, says Wits professor, Professor Francois Venter of Ezintsha in the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, is likely to make the country vulnerable to a fourth wave of a Covid-19 surge in the future.

He also believes the rising rate of infections in Gauteng may make the province resemble India in a week’s time. India weeks ago saw a near collapse of its health-care system, as large numbers of its citizens infected with the Delta variant of Covid-19 battled to find hospital beds and oxygen.

Other academics, however, felt Gauteng has enough resources to prevent it from going the way of India.

The Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in SA director, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, believes the number of infections in Gauteng will start reducing in the next week or two, but warned that the other provinces will begin to see rapid increases.

“In South Africa, the third wave, without question, is going to be worse than the first and second waves, and it’s being driven at this point principally by the Delta variant,” he said.

He believes that the restrictions imposed by the country returning to level 4 of the lockdown will slow the spread of the virus as it largely limits gatherings, and that the severity of the latest surge of infections might shock some into adhering to the rules.

“As the cases are going up, people will get to know a family member, neighbour or colleague who has got infected and died and this will scare them to comply with the regulations.”  Cont 2/...