Record numbers — surpassing the highest in previous waves, of new daily COVID-19 infections in South Africa.
There were over 26,000 new cases reported on Saturday — up from 24 000 the day before and brought on by the delta variant with Gauteng as the epicentre, according to the country’s health officials on Sunday.
Around 13,800 people are currently hospitalised for coronavirus-related complications.
Some facilities — many at full capacity, are even cancelling elective surgeries to free up beds and create more health worker availability.
Many hospital staff at the Tshepong Hospital in the North West Province are struggling with burnout from the added pressure of the continued health crisis — with the influx of COVID-19 positive patients they attend to daily.
Dr Debi Moagi, a doctor at Tshepong Hospital, is exhausted.
“As I stand here, I am feeling physically tired and emotionally as well, because this pandemic is really hard on one. But we haven’t seen death at this rate.”
South Africa’s official death toll has risen above 63,000.
Although statistics suggest the nation’s number of virus fatalities may actually be over 170,000.
The hospital has brought in the services of psychologists to assist healthcare workers mentally as they deal with the pandemic and rise of hospital admissions.
“We try to support each other and we try to give each other…. Like okay, guys we tried and that’s it, you know, so I think emotionally it does affect us a lot” said Onthatile Mmusi, a nurse at Tshepong Hospital.
“Although the hospital is giving us the psychologists that we have debriefing them. And I wish sometimes that we can be here each and every day.”
According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, South Africa’s 2 million cases account for over 30% of the African continent’s total reported caseload.
“We haven’t seen death at this rate, I think you do get told as you’re training that yes some patients will die. But it’s a bit abnormal to see them dying at this rate,” said doctor Debi Moagi.
President Cyril Ramaphosa last week increased restrictions with the aim of reducing the further spread of coronavirus in the country.
A nighttime curfew has been extended, the sale of alcohol banned, many schools have been closed and travel into and out of Gauteng — the nation’s most populous province that includes Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, halted.
Gauteng accounts for more than 60% of the new cases and officials fear other provinces and cities will soon follow.
Over 3.3 million of South Africa’s 60 million people have received at least one jab of the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. to date.
The nations’ vaccination campaign kicked off with health workers, the elderly aged 60 and over and school staff.
South Africa’s Health Products Regulatory Authority on Saturday authorized the vaccine manufactured by China’s Sinovac — providing that it submits final results of ongoing clinical studies.