South Africa’s biggest medical scheme administrator, Discovery Health, is prepared to move members around the country to make room for COVID-19 patients should the need arise, as concerns mount that the coronavirus pandemic could cause even private hospitals to be forced to turn patients away.
After an initially slow start, Business Day reports that South Africa’s COVID-19 epidemic has accelerated sharply in the past few weeks. On Wednesday of last week, the number of confirmed cases exceeded the 300,000 mark, putting South Africa in a worse position than the UK, Spain and Iran.
The reports that the crisis is not only exposing the fragility of the public health system, but also placing strain on private hospitals, which are seeing COVID-19 admissions soar in many parts of the country.
While the Western Cape appears to be getting on top of its outbreak, the disease is spreading rapidly in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, placing increasing pressure on hospitals in the public and private sector. Even a relatively unaffected province such as the North West faces the spectre of a looming bed shortage, as it has few health-care facilities, said Noach.
Discovery Health is particularly concerned about hospital bed capacity in the Eastern Cape and the North West, he is quoted in the report as saying.Full Business Day report