CTICC hospital receives first Covid-19 patients

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Western Cape Premier Alan Winde inspect the CTICC facility.

The Hospital of Hope admitted its first patient at the coronavirus field hospital at the CTICC on Monday.

Western Cape Health Clinical Manager, Dr Barry Smith said the facility was an intermediate care hospital, which is presently overwhelmed. He said due to projections, the 862 available beds are likely to be full by the end of June.

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Cape Town on Friday June 5 to check the state of readiness in the province for the expected surge in coronavirus cases.

The city is the epicentre of the outbreak in South Africa and the Western Cape accounts for 66% of all infections in the country.

On his tour, President Ramaphosa first visited the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) where he officially opened the Hospital of Hope.

“This is a very important moment in our fight against the coronavirus. A time to be creative, innovative and be able to transform a public facility usually used for conferences, exhibitions and festivals into a healthcare centre named Hospital of Hope,” he said.

Work began on the field hospital early in May. Medical staff underwent orientation at the facility this week and patients will be admitted from tomorrow.

Mayor Dan Plato said the CTICC has been an important part of Cape Town’s economy through the hosting of major local and international events while creating thousands of jobs.

However, its greatest – and most important – use appears to be in the coming weeks. The temporary infrastructure building, operating and catering costs for the initial hire period will total about R47 million. This excludes the costs that the Department of Health incurs in providing clinical equipment, oxygen, medication and staff for the temporary hospital.

President Ramaphosa is also scheduled to visit the Red Dot Taxi operating service which has transported around 6 000 healthcare workers since its inception in May.

The provincial head of health, Dr Keith Cloete, said the province’s intensive care unit (ICU) mortality rate was at 66% and it was 18% in the general ward section. “We have established a pattern of a five-day general ward average length of stay, and eight to 10-day critical care length of stay. It is a little bit longer if you look at people who are currently in ICU, so we are giving you the data of everybody that is either deceased or has been discharged.”