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Covid-19 takes toll on Western Cape medics, with more than 90 admitted in past two weeks

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Covid-19 takes toll on Western Cape medics, with more than 90 admitted in past two weeks

6th January 2021

By: News24Wire

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More than 37 000 days of Covid-19-related sick leave have been taken by healthcare workers in the Western Cape since March.

The head of the Western Cape's health department, Keith Cloete, said a cumulative total of 7 246 staff members have taken Covid-19-related leave since March, with 37 795 days having been taken over the period. This relates to an average of five days per case.

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"Currently, 1 019 healthcare workers across 97 institutions are infected with Covid-19, which equates to 3.08% of a total staff compliment of 33 062," he added.

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Cloete was speaking at a briefing on Tuesday, alongside Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, on the province's latest Covid-19 update.

"Since the first of November, we have had more than 25 healthcare workers pass away and more than 90 have been admitted in the last 14 days of which some, a few of them, are also in critical care.

"One of the most traumatic things for a healthcare worker's colleague is knowing and hearing that your healthcare worker colleague has died, knowing and hearing that your healthcare worker colleague is positive but also knowing and hearing that they have been admitted to hospital and have been moved to an ICU bed.

"It is one of the most traumatic things that healthcare workers are currently dealing with. That is besides knowing that a close family member is positive," he said.

In an effort to beef up its healthcare numbers and make up for those who are in isolation, the province has approached military hospitals to help assist with staffing, among other things.

"We are currently working out how many doctors and how many nurses [from the military] and which places they will be placed.

"We have a preference and have requested that they be deployed to Paarl or Worcester. By the end of the day, we should have confirmation on what staff members and what category of staff," said Cloete, adding this should be finalised by the end of Tuesday.

He said the military would also be assisting with healthcare transportation.

The province has undergone a rigorous recruitment process, which will add 1 327 nursing staff.

"495 contract appointments are currently in process since 1 January 2021 across the platform and 322 medical interns have been appointed," Cloete added.

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