Mediclinic Southern Africa together with all other healthcare providers have put all possible resources in place to manage the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Admissions and capacity
Mediclinic can confirm a very strong demand for hospital beds during the current third wave,impacting Gauteng in particular. We are also seeing noted increases in demand for care inMpumalanga, Limpopo and the Western Cape. This demand is being experienced across much of the industry as a result of the increase in patient numbers and severity of patients’ conditions, and is expected to continue in the coming weeks.
It is important to note that while ICU and High Care capacity may vary from hospital to hospital depending on the number of licensed beds, not all COVID-19 patients require ICU care or mechanical ventilation. Many admitted patients are treated successfully with supplemental oxygen and other supportive treatment modalities and Mediclinic has capacity within its medical wards to assist patients in this manner.
Patients arriving at any of our Emergency Centres follow the triage process whereby clinical priority is determined. Urgent cases will be stabilised and admitted, or transferred to another suitable facility to ensure that they receive the appropriate care. Mediclinic hospitals are in constant contact with other hospitals within the area to understand demand for care at each facility and best manage the flow of patients.
Severity of Delta variant
Mediclinic, along with all other healthcare resources, is now facing the increasing impact of the third surge, which has been dramatic and far more significant in volume in Gauteng than the previous waves.It has been confirmed by the Department of Health that the Delta variant (originally seen in India) has been detected in South Africa. This variant spreads exceptionally fast and as a result, the Delta variant causes a steep rise in new infections – a key reason for the tremendous pressure currently being experienced by healthcare resources.
It is important for the public to note that these resources are getting to capacity, and personal behaviour which prevents person to person spread is key to reducing the demand and allowing healthcare providers to best allocate these resources.Importance of vaccination and adjusted behaviour As this third wave continues to progress throughout South Africa, Mediclinic would strongly emphasise the need for the public to protect their own health and adjust their behaviour to reduce their risk of infection by the coronavirus.
By adjusting their behaviour, the community can contribute to slowing the progress of the pandemic, thereby relieving pressure on the facilities supporting severely impacted patients. This includes universal masking, social distancing, avoiding closed spaces with poor ventilation and regular hand hygiene.
In addition, surface cleaning and avoiding of social gatherings outside an individual’s direct family circle are important measures that should be adopted. It is vital that anyone not feeling well remains at home to avoid any further risk to community members.
It is also vitally important that all eligible members of the community register themselves for COVID-19 vaccination. It has been proven that the vaccine provides the body with additional protection against becoming severely ill from the virus, as well as reducing the risk of death.
Members of the public who are over 60 years of age can choose to register via different channels,
depending on their access to these channels:
• visiting the online portal at https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/
• sending a WhatsApp saying “REGISTER” to 0600 123 456
• sending an SMS to *134*832* followed by your ID number
• dialing *134*832# if you do not have an ID number
Mediclinic is operating 10 Pfizer vaccination centres as part of the Department of Health’s vaccine roll-out. We are in the process of opening 13 further sites that will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as soon as stock is available. The vaccination centres are operating on an appointment basis as designated by the EVDS system in order to reduce risk for those awaiting vaccination and to ensure fair distribution of the vaccine.
Resources in place
Hospital bed capacity remains fluid and this dynamic situation is continuously monitored and addressed. Where possible, measures are also in place to further increase our capacity through reallocation of non-COVID-19 units as well as ensuring that oxygen capacity and supply is sufficient to support the needs for supplemental oxygen in our wards. Where the surge is being experienced differently between our regions we are able to move equipment such as ventilators to areas under pressure and key resources such as oxygen availability are constantly being
Human resource capacity was increased during previous waves where additional training was provided to upskill nursing staff from other units to assist in pressure areas such as ICU and High Care. We continue to liaise with healthcare staffing agencies to assist in supporting our facilities with additional capacity where needed.
Impact of alcohol ban on admissions
Mediclinic can confirm that we have not experienced a significant change in alcohol related admissions to our Emergency Centres when alcohol bans have been implemented or removed during previous surges. We do not foresee the recent ban impacting on our current Emergency Centre admissions.
Visiting hours and elective surgery
Our highest priority is the safety of patients, staff and doctors. In regions under pressure, elective
(or non-emergency) surgery has been temporarily suspended, particularly where it may require ICU or High Care post-surgery. All emergency surgeries are continuing, as Mediclinic is still receiving non-COVID-19 related cases through our Emergency Centres and from referring doctors.
Mediclinic continues to monitor the situation and is taking all the necessary precautions to provide all patients with the best care possible.Revised visiting hours have been implemented within many of our hospitals, depending on the evolution of the pandemic in a particular region. Where hospitals are under tremendous pressure
as a result of a surge in COVID-19 cases, visiting hours may be restricted or temporarily suspended, but family can contact the hospital for more information on what options are locally available to engage with loved ones.
Visitation access for NICU, obstetrics and paediatric units remain in place. Wherever possible virtual contact between families and their loved ones in hospital can be facilitated by the staff in the wards.
Support for healthcare staff
Mediclinic recognises the essential role of our healthcare workers in this pandemic. We understand the tremendous pressure this places on their mental and emotional well-being. We have placed additional online and in-person resources in place to ensure that they have easy and appropriate access to the support they require.
This is an ongoing focus area, and we would like to thank the community for their ongoing messages and gestures of support.This makes a significant difference to the morale within our hospitals.