South Africa’s daily confirmed COVID-19 cases have surpassed 10,000 for days running, indicating the approaching of the infection peak, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday.
In the past 24 hours, 11,554 new cases were reported, bringing the total number to 287,796, the minister said in his daily update.
The total number of COVID-19 related deaths stood at 4,172, of which 93 were newly added deaths, Mkhize said.
Gauteng Province, the new epicenter in the country, recorded a cumulative number of 103,713 cases, an increase of 5,282 from the previous announcement, said Mkhize.
Of the total patients in the province, 4,624 were admitted to public and private facilities, according to the minister.
Gauteng health workers were trying to find more beds for COVID-19 patients, he said.
“In Gauteng, the numbers are rising very fast and we want to be sure that we match these numbers,” said Mkhize.
The government was concerned about the rapid increase in the number of infected people who required hospitalization, said Mkhize.
However, he assured South Africans that the country has enough hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
“We have added 27,800 beds which have been put onto the system right across the country and we believe that these beds are important,” the minister said.
The government is also working to ensure that patients are not just admitted to hospitals but also have access to oxygen piping, Mkhize said.
The government was calling on clinicians to bring in more oxygen tanks to hospitals as this was becoming a key factor in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Mkhize.
With more and more cases expected in the coming days, the country needs to add an additional 12,000 beds just to make sure that the cases don’t exceed the capacity, Mkhize said.
Efforts were being made to acquire more hospital beds, he said.