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Mediclinic ICUs reaching capacity amid second wave

Surge in patient numbers in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Mediclinic's Morningside Hospital in Sandton. Image: Supplied

JSE-listed hospital group Mediclinic is now reaching up to 90% occupancy levels within its roughly 1 000 intensive care unit (ICU) or high care beds across South Africa, with several of its hospital ICUs at capacity due to the second wave of Covid-19.

In an update on Friday, the group’s chief clinical officer for Southern Africa Dr Gerrit de Villiers warned that the surge is putting its staffing, emergency centre capacity and critical care resources under significant strain.

“Currently with the second surge of Covid-19 we are seeing occupancies of up to 90% with significant volumes of patients in emergency centres,” he noted.

“ICU beds and ventilators have experienced the biggest strain with some hospitals’ ICU and high care beds and ventilators fully occupied.

“Our current ventilator capacity is under extreme pressure,” he said, adding: “We have noted an increase in demand in the last week.”

Mediclinic has about 850 ventilators within its hospital network in SA.

“We have purchased additional ventilators and oxygen delivery devices [oxygenators] for certain hospitals where the infrastructure allowed for additional capacity to be deployed,” said De Villiers.

Read: Fake news could jeopardise SA vaccine rollout

“We are not in a position to release specific Covid-19 admission numbers, as these are reported on a daily basis to the National Department of Health.

“We can confirm that the total number of admitted [Covid-19] patients currently exceeds the peak of wave one by about 75% and in some hospitals by 100%.”

He said the second wave of Covid-19 patients “continues unabated” with significant volumes being experienced currently in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng.

Mediclinic’s main rival hospital group Netcare has warned that Gauteng is set to only now experience the Covid-19 second wave peak as people come back from their holidays and get back to work. Gauteng Premier David Makhura has also said the province needs to brace for this.

Read: Virus surge puts SA hospitals under severe strain

De Villiers notes that demand for ICU beds seems to have stabilised along the Garden Route and “is starting to show signs of stabilisation” in the Western Cape – but that numbers are still very high in the province.

Elective surgeries halted where necessary

Mediclinic is implementing additional measures to increase capacity where it can but has opted to stop elective surgeries in hospitals where resources are under strain.

“This need will be evaluated on a hospital basis and reviewed regularly,” said De Villiers.

“Where there is capacity, elective surgeries may continue at associated day clinics or acute hospitals. This measure is in line with Covid-19 precautions, and is aimed at managing the risk to patients, staff and doctors while allowing us to service a community in need with limited capacity,” he added.

He said however that emergency and urgent surgeries will continue at all group hospitals.

From an overall staffing perspective, De Villiers noted that as part of Mediclinic’s measures to increase capacity and resources, most of its staff who were on leave have come back early to support the group’s efforts in the wake of the second wave.

“We have also reallocated key resources to [Covid-19] hot spots, and we have provided additional training to upskill nursing staff from other units to assist in areas such as ICU and high care,” he said.

“Mediclinic Southern Africa can confirm that our staffing levels are currently under pressure in regions experiencing the surge during this second wave in particular KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga,” he noted.

Diversions

With more of its ICUs reaching capacity, the group has been forced to divert some new Covid-19 patients and emergencies to other hospitals.

“Where hospitals are experiencing high volumes of patients within the emergency centre/ICU and high care units and are unable to accommodate any further patients in these units for a period of time, a decision will be made to implement a diversion to another hospital with capacity to avoid any individual’s care being compromised due to a delay in receiving treatment,” said De Villiers.

“This policy is only implemented for short periods of time [a maximum of four hours] to clear a backlog of patients,” he noted, adding that during these times all life-threatening cases will still be assessed and stabilised before being referred.

Volunteer initiative

The group has also highlighted its volunteer initiative, with De Villiers saying it has a formal volunteer process in place to encourage community members without clinical experience, or who have previously worked in the healthcare industry, and are willing to assist and support its healthcare workers in a clinical as well as administrative capacity.

“Mediclinic initiated this process to ensure that our healthcare workers are able to focus on providing the essential care where it is needed most. Volunteers will assist healthcare staff to focus on their core roles.”

He said the group provide clear guidance to and oversight of the volunteers’ roles and responsibilities, with volunteers receiving the required training in order to feel safe and confident in carrying out their roles.

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We were all warned about a second “wave”

Now everyone is scurrying around to adapt

Me don’t get it!

Yes, you ‘d think the all saving private sector would come to the table/till…

perhaps the business case of a wave isn’t worth the additional capital investment..

Think before you speak.

I guess they should have 3D printed more ventilators too.

Mmm….these official statistics released by governments and so called ‘experts’ are so highly contentious it’s verging on insanity.

Many many memes doing the rounds exposing so called ‘Covid Wards’ with totally empty beds !…nurses testifying to a complete cover up by hospitals in labeling any death virtually as ‘covid’…..then you only have to see this questionable official narrative being pushed at all costs by the same old culprits – mainstream media and government.

What a toxic combination !

In fact, most people aren’t frightened by ‘covid’ anymore – rather, we more frightened by our own governments.

I have experienced shocks deaths around me this year than any other year. I am very sure it is not normal for so many close friends, family and other people I know to just die around the same time. By the way it is now only the 18th of January.

@tbos

Well, we used to label these ‘shock’ deaths as double pneumonia……TB…….AIDS……..co-morbidity organ collapse……..flu induced death for the already compromised sick and eldery…….etc etc

Remember those days ?

Now however the triumvirate toxic combination of mass media/governments and Big Pharma have cozied up to pull the biggest scam on mankind to date and simply rebranded it.

And the indoctrinated masses have fallen for it hook, line and sinker !

Well with closer to 50% increased deaths per year in 2020 for some countries ( including Peru, Ecuador, Indonesia) you got to admit something is up, what is it?

Countries that had first world medical care had upto 20% more deaths in 2020 than expected from all those same old things you mention..

Reality is you got to be some special moronic half dead to cry “conspiracy”

I do not believe what you say is true.Quoting ‘memes’ is not appropriate.

@ cybershep

I’m not here to convince you – use the tools you were born with [ critical thinking is a strong asset worthy of developing ] and go and do your OWN independent research.

However, I can confidently assure you this – if you getting your information from the corporate controlled mouthpieces like CNN, or believe what government spews out [ government: Latin for ‘mind control’ ], then you are sadly very misinformed.

Good luck with that.

Do not forget that this is a private hospital network, not a government one. They are complaining that they have too much business! They were sitting empty for months, so should be grateful as a company.

Wtf!

Are you serious.

No hospital wants to be over flooded with people dying in hallways.

You’re the biggest moron on here.

Tone deaf

With the newly available data about the efficiency of ivermectin, full hospitals, overworked medical workers and lockdown measures are a choice, and not an unavoidable consequence.

Boost the economy in this win/win solution. Make a deal with SAB to put a drop of ivermectin in the beer. The nation will get herd immunity within one week. A visit to the shebeen will protect you against covid for more than a month. One beer a day will keep the doctor away. The cheap, safe and readily available ivermectin renders the vaccine irrelevant.

By the way, the ivermectin in the beer will have fewer side-effects than the alcohol in the beer.

Market the new beer under the brand name “Emancipation”. Free yourself from the shackles. Drink yourself out of lockdown, and the country into prosperity!

There’s no money for big Pharma to be made if (every one) starts using Ivermectin. What I have read so far is that it’s effective in combatting the virus within 48 hours. It’s not a vaccine but an ‘antidote’ (call it what you like) and affordable to even the poorest of the poor, and been available for years. But like I said, no money for the Pharmaceutical companies so the WHO et al are coming up with all the BS they can to stop the use of it. Profits before lives.

Veterinary clinics, agricultural co-ops and companies as well as pharmacies are out of stock of ivermectin. The whole country is using it off-label, to save themselves. The local licencing body is asleep at the wheel. People have learned to ignore the government and to circumvent their incompetence by making their own plans. In South Africa, we will have the situation where every member of the Medicines Control Council will be using ivermectin, but they will refuse to license it for general use because then they have to accept some form of accountability. There is no accountability or pragmatism under ANC rule. Pathetic bunch of self-serving losers.

End of comments.

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