Sunday, 10 January 2021 20:19

Staff Reporter.

Steve Biko academic hospital in Pretoria has seen a sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 patients since December 2020.

Last week, images of Covid patients being treated outside tents at a hospital made rounds on social media.

On Sunday, the Gauteng health department confirmed that some of the images were indeed taken at the Steve Biko hospital.

"The increased number of patients are sicker and require critical care, with some arriving in groups and putting serious pressure on the facility, "said Gauteng department of health spokesperson Kwara Kekana.

She said some of the patients the hospital was receiving were from private facilities because of a lack of space.

"Early last year, the Gauteng department of health converted Tshwane district hospital (TDH) into a strictly Covid-19 treating facility in partnership with Steve Biko – transforming the two hospitals into the complex. These efforts were done in order to increase Covid-19-designated beds within the complex.

"The complex is currently under pressure, especially, with regards to the patients who require specialist, immediate attention and, therefore, can be treated only at certain hospitals, that are also overwhelmed," Kekana said.

She said Steve Biko would put up two additional tents to accommodate the increase in the number of patients coming to the facility.

"This is one of the interventions by the complex to treat the rising number of Covid-19 patients.

"We are urging communities not to be complacent. The non-pharmaceutical interventions of wearing a mask, good hand hygiene, sanitising, avoiding closed and crowded places remain central in preventing the further spread of the virus."

Earlier on Sunday, the province said the total number of Covid cases in Gauteng sits at 328,925 with 276,998 recoveries and 6,142 deaths.

A total of 4,033 people are currently hospitalised in the public and private facilities.