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Communities now the frontline in the battle against COVID-19

Adhering to precautions critical

Hospitals in the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route area in the Western Cape are straining to cope with a resurgence of COVID-19. There is government and community concern that this will soon escalate to other provinces.

The trend is showing an increase in younger patients, who are waiting a day or two too long before seeking medical help. This means that the level of care required is more acute, the recovery time longer, and more pressure is being placed on medical personnel and resources.

For example, at the Life Knysna Private Hospital, in the first wave majority of the patients were in the age bracket of 65. Whereas in the second wave there are two groupings; 40 – 55 and 65+, in more or less equal amounts. Similarly, in both the Port Elizabeth and Border-Kei regions the patients are younger than the first wave with the average age bracket of 45 years, in comparison to the first wave of 55 years.

COVID fatigue could be causing a lapse in communities following precautionary measures. “I think we’re going to have a tough end of year. COVID fatigue, I think, is one of the biggest dangers. People are drifting back to what they perceive to be their normal,” says Dr Charl van Loggerenberg, Life Healthcare GM: Emergency Medicine.

Dr van Loggerenberg says there is still a chance to turn the situation round – responsible social behaviour is key. “We’ve got wards full of sick patients. Some people die. Wearing a mask, hand washing and social distancing is not propaganda. It is basic science. It is the proverbial no-brainer.”

He urges people to seek medical advice quickly if they have COVID-19 by checking in with their general practitioner, and not to wait until the last minute before seeking emergency help, to ensure a better outcome.

Take note of the following:

  • Continue to wear a mask around other people
  • Adhere to social distancing
  • Adhere to strict hand hygiene measures
  • If you suspect you could be COVID-19 positive and you are in respiratory distress (struggling to breath properly): seek help immediately - go to your nearest emergency unit and call ahead to advise of your arrival if you can
  • For other medical issues consider visiting your general practitioner – don’t neglect your health
  • If you have a medical emergency – don’t question it or neglect your health – make use of your local emergency unit

Dr van Loggerenberg further outlines – statistics, which show what may be perceived to be a low number of cases in particular areas, should be seen in the context of the potential for transmission, if responsible precautionary behaviour is not observed. “You have to worry about it because three becomes nine, becomes 19, becomes 81, becomes 150 very quickly. No one wants to go back to where we were in July,” he said.

Continue to be vigilant and observe all precautionary measures diligently. Curbing the spread of infection is everyone’s responsibility.


Source: News24, Hospitals in Eastern Cape, Garden Route taking strain as doctor warns of COVID-fatigue – Jenni Evans. Wednesday,  2 December 2020.


The above is shared for information purposes only and provided on the basis that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a healthcare professional. E&OE. Life Healthcare Group Ltd does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by the reader as a result of the information provided.