There are already family members daily who look through the glass windows of units in hospitals in Bloemfontein as their loved ones die of Covid-19, without being able to say goodbye.
In just one private hospital, there have apparently been 13 Covid-19 deaths since the beginning of the confinement.
A former doctor from Bloemfontein requested in a WhatsApp message this week that the public pray for doctors and nurses because they are going through terribly difficult times and work very long hours.
“One cannot underestimate the emotional and spiritual impact of the disease. It has tremendous psychological implications for patients and their loved ones, and also for the staff.
“The viral disease will also not go away until a vaccine has been found,” the doctor wrote.
The WhatsApp message claims that the high care beds and oxygen administration in the Mediclinic Bloemfontein are now only reserved for patients under the age of 50 because the hospital is so full.
However, Carl Bührmann, general manager of the Mediclinic, denies this.
“This is not yet the case. We can not say that this will not be the case in the future. “
He says at this stage no age distinction is made between Covid-19 patients who are admitted.
Patients are admitted in terms of the clinical evaluation by medical specialists.
Dr. Cloete van Vuuren, head of internal medicine at 3 Military Hospital and the specialist in communicable diseases, also denies that the Mediclinic discriminates on the basis of age.
There are still high care beds available in the hospital.
Van Vuuren says ventilators are not just handed out and are usually used where they can give patients a positive outcome.
Doctors and the families of patients have conversations about this. Someone should be able to benefit from a ventilator and it does not help to prolong someone’s life with it by a week if the patient does not have a chance of survival.
He says there are definitely many more sick Covid-19 patients in the Free State now than there were two weeks ago.
One also now sees many more people who want to be tested for Covid-19.
“Those who are sick now are the ones who mostly did not bother and maintain safety measures because they thought ‘this will not happen to me’.”
He says the doubling of infection rates is now taking place between nine and 14 days in the Free State.
“The death toll has doubled in 16 days.”
Dr. David Motau, head of the Free State health department, says models have been used in forecasts of how many hospital beds, high-care beds and ventilators will be needed. At this stage, the Free State is still ahead in the planning and not caught off guard.
“Everything goes according to plan.”
He says more than 80% of the patients who contracted Covid-19 do not become so ill that they have to be hospitalized.
“Only about 15% end up in hospitals. The death rate is about 1.5%. “
People must therefore remain positive and safe.
Mondli Mvambi, spokesperson for the Free State health department, says there have now been 45 deaths in the province, while there are 6 561 confirmed cases of the disease and 1 033 people have recovered from it. The Mangaung district remains the epicenter in the province with 2,315 confirmed cases.