WALVIS BAY – State hospitals in Erongo are experiencing a surge in the demand for oxygen and hospitalisation of Covid-19 patients across the region.
The region, which was hard-hit during the first Covid-19 wave last year, is currently preparing itself to deal with the onslaught of the pandemic, which has seen an upsurge in new infections across the country.
By yesterday morning, Erongo recorded 164 new cases, with Walvis Bay recording 86, Swakopmund 68, Usakos (nine) and Omaruru one case.
Erongo health director Anna Jonas on Friday confirmed the high demand for oxygen, saying they are cross-transferring patients among the hospitals to manage the increase.
“Hospitalisations and the need for oxygen have been on the increase in all our hospitals across the region. Walvis Bay had about 15 patients in the wards, plus six in the intensive care unit and high care,” Jonas said.
She added that Swakopmund currently has about 33 patients in hospital, with two in high care.
“There is good collaboration between the state and private hospitals in the region, but there has not been much referral as they are full in terms of Covid patients. Hence, in order to manage, we cross-transfer our patients within the region”, she noted.
The Walvis Bay state hospital had to move the Covid-19 vaccination site to the Welwitschia private hospital in order to accommodate more Covid-19 patients.
The general manager of the Welwitschia private hospital, Gareth Smith, last week indicated that they have in the past few months referred patients to other hospitals, especially those requiring high care treatment.
Health minister Kalumbi Shangula last week also stated that the increasing number of new infections and hospitalisations place more pressure on available high care and intensive care units in both private and public health facilities.
“In fact, the occupancy rate in most Covid-19 isolation and intensive care units, both in the public and private sectors, ranges between 67% and 100% on any given day,” he said.
The Walvis Bay State hospital last year received a locally manufactured oxygen generator plant worth N$4.5 million from the China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC)’s Rössing Uranium.
The plant can produce 436 litres of oxygen per minute, with a purity of 95%.