Oxygen stocks run low in Gauteng as strain mounts

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Gauteng doctors say that oxygen stocks are running low and that the testing system, already under strain, is malfunctioning, reports Daily Maverick.

Doctors in Gauteng report that hospitals are beginning to fill up and oxygen is running low. Daily Maverick reports that over 80% of the province’s population rely on public health facilities, and state hospitals and clinics are coming under increasing strain. In the battle against the coronavirus, oxygen is life and many infected patients need it. The virus impacts the respiratory system and, in the most serious cases, is associated with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

According to the report, doctors said that oxygen stocks are running low and that the COVID-19 testing system, already under strain, is malfunctioning. When it comes to the province’s outlying districts, Dr Francois Venter said he is getting reports of “poor turnaround times for testing”.

“The demand for oxygen has increased greatly over the last 14-day period. As of yesterday (30 June), we had a total of 2,981 people admitted at hospitals, both in the public and private sectors. There are 144 people on ventilators, and 464 on oxygen in the ICU and high care units. In the general wards, 1,087 are on oxygen and 1,286 on room air.”

The Gauteng Health Department is stepping up referrals to isolation and quarantine sites and opening more facilities, and is scrambling to ensure oxygen supply and oxygen points in wards, said Gauteng Health spokesperson Kwara Kekana. Two doctors are quoted in the report as saying that oxygen supplies should have been secured months ago as the requirement was entirely predictable, given that the lockdown was put in place to prepare the health system.

Full Daily Maverick report

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