More burials, fewer beds as Covid second wave bites

False Bay Hospital staff wearing their masks and social distancing.

The number of patients admitted for Covid-19 at False Bay Hospital almost doubled last week, and the hospital is seeing more younger patients with low oxygen levels during this second wave of the virus than it did during the first surge.

The district hospital’s acting CEO Dr Liezel Rossouw says they daily see between 40 to 70 possible Covid-19 cases.

The hospital admitted 60 patients last week compared to 35 the previous week. Eight patients died in the last two weeks.

The country has been on adjusted alert level 3 as of Tuesday December 29 to curb a second wave of infections.

Countrywide, there are currently 1337 926 active infections and 37 105 deaths. The virus has claimed 8946 lives in the Western Cape.

As of the first week of the new year, according to the provincial Department of Health, there were 504 current cases in Ocean View including Klein Slangkop and Imhoff’s Gift, 709 in Masiphumelele, 74 in Sunnydale, 60 in Capri, 68 in Sun Valley, 2 in Silverglade, 112 in Noordhoek including Chapman’s Peak, San Michel, Crofters Valley and Lake Michelle, 411 in Fish Hoek, 17 in Clovelly, 407 in Muizenberg including Marina da Gama, 102 in Lakeside, 90 in Kommetjie, 57 in Glencairn including Glencairn Heights and Welcome Glen, and 17 in Simon’s Town including Admiral’s Kloof and Seaforth.

Dr Rossouw said 10% of False Bay Hospital’s Covid-19 admissions had had to be transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital in the past two weeks for high care. A further 10% had been transferred to field hospitals to free up more beds in the wards.

The hospital was seeing more Covid-19 admissions than it had seen in the first wave and more younger patients with hypoxia, Dr Rossouw said.

Hypoxia is a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply at the tissue level.

Meanwhile, 139 of the 700 burials at City cemeteries last week were Covid related.

Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health, said the City was working with the Muslim Judicial Council to increase burial capacity at City cemeteries for Muslim burials. The cemeteries currently accommodated about 150 Muslim burials a month, he said.

City cemeteries with Muslim allotments in the far south are Muizenberg, Dido Valley, and Ocean View.

Until now, Dr Badroodien said, Klip Road cemetery had been the preferred burial site, but the Muslim allotment there had been exhausted.

There were 100 lots available at Ocean View cemetery, and 20 at Muizenberg cemetery.

Running out of space at smaller cemeteries did not mean there was no space for Muslim burials in the city, he said.

“There is sufficient space at large cemeteries to accommodate Muslim burials, but it may require communities to choose cemeteries further from home.”

Jean Wyllie, funeral director of Tony Wyllie and Co in Muizenberg, said they had seen an increase in Covid-19 related deaths recently.

Dr Badroodien urged mourners to consider weekday burials to avoid congestion.

No more than 50 mourners can attend a funeral under current restrictions and they have to wear masks and physically distance.

Noordhoek microbiologist Dr Gerry Norris said there had been a lot of debate about the effectiveness of masks, but they stopped the spread of infection by protecting both the wearer and those the wearer came into contact with.

“The main benefit of wearing masks is that they help prevent the spread of droplets from the nose and mouth. Droplets can transport countless thousands of virus particles into the air and towards others,” he said.

It was important to do everything possible during the pandemic to boost one’s immune system, and people should seek advice from health-care practitioners, he said.