The Western Cape remains the country’s worst affected province, with over 20 000 cases making it by far the province in most urgent need of monitoring, especially as the country collectively moves into Alert Level 3 Lockdown measures (the transition for which began on 1 June).
Heath Minister Zweli Mkhize arrived in Cape Town on Monday 1 June along with the new Director General (DG) of the Department of Health, Dr Sandile Buthelezi, to discuss the ailing province’s success in stemming its rapidly increasing COVID-19 infection rate.
Buthelezi was appointed DG on, and enters the political arena at a time when his department is under constant pressure to keep tabs on the successes of intervention strategies across the country.
CTICC Field Hospital Up and Running
Mkihize and his new colleague linked up with Premier Alan Winde and provincial health officials to discuss the province’s response to their hotspot areas, with the majority of the country’s hotspots found in the Western Cape.
The Health department duo were led on a tour of the newly established field hospital at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) where Mkhize said 862 beds are ready to be utilised when necessary.
The field hospital will be able to accommodate those with mild cases of COVID-19 but who may require hospitalisation, and is one of five such facilities erected in the province in the last month.
The Thusong Centre in Khayelitsha is another such site, and is situated in one of the province’s worst hit hotspots, where social distancing is challenging as a result of dire congestion.
Two Thirds of Positive Cases in the Western Cape
The Western Cape now has 21 382 positive cases of COVID-19, and 503 people have lost their lives to the virus in the province.
A total of 11 099 people have successfully recovered from the virus.
Mkhize will be hoping that his new colleague, Buthelezi, will be able to assist him in providing support to the ailing province.
Buthelezi was formerly thecvief director in the Department of Health in KZN, and will now take command as the accounting officer in the department of health.
“Dr Buthelezi is an experienced leader in health management, starting when he was superintendent of Nkandla Hospital, then at Grey’s Hospital and going on to become a chief director in the Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal on HIV and maternal and child health programmes,” said Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo upon the confirmation of Buthelezi’s appointment.
“We are looking forward to reaping the benefit of his experience in other areas he has worked in and to take the department to greater heights. We congratulate the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize for identifying Dr Buthelezi at this stage to lead the department under these challenging circumstances.”
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