At the beginning of COVID-19 experience in the country, experts warned that the country is to expect a sudden surge or sharp increase particularly during the winter season. It is the middle of the winter season and the North West Province has indeed experienced increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases. South Africa is now standing at 224 665 positive cases.
Out of 9 Provinces, the North West Province is at number 5 of the highest number of cases with 7147 confirmed positive cases and contribute 3.2% of the total number of cases in the country.
The Province’s COVID-19 positive cases are largely located within the mining communities with Bojanala standing at 4797, Dr Kenneth Kaunda 1788, Ngaka Modiri Molema 428 and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati at 113. The mining Sub-Districts take the bulk of cases with Rustenburg at 4194 and Matlosana at 1277.
Sadly, the Province has also seen a sudden increase in the total number of reported deaths. For some time the Province had one reported death, then moved to five and on the 2nd of July the Province was standing at 7 deaths then suddenly climbed to 36 confirmed deaths on 3rd July.
The sudden increase in the number of reported deaths is due to the fact that each case has to be thoroughly investigated before it can be reported. While the Province has known of certain deaths which were suspected to be COVID-19 related, such cases had to go through the process of verification before they could be reported for inclusion in the NICD data base and be reported by the Minister.
The 36 number of reported deaths were reported as follows: Bojanala 13, Dr Kenneth Kaunda District 18 and Ngaka Modiri Molema 5.
We have observed the following common primary diagnoses among COVID-19 related deaths included pneumonia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease , Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Cardiac failure, Aspiration pneumonitis, Severe Pancreatitis, Renovascular disease and renal failure while common co-morbidities include diabetes, hypertension and obesity
I am saddened by the passing away of the MEC Gordon Kegakilwe. I can confirm that MEC Kegakilwe was admitted with COVID pneumonia at the Vryburg Private Hospital and was immediately put on oxygen; and a decision was taken to transfer him to a medical facility in Klerksdorp.
He was transported from Vryburg to Klerksdorp in an ambulance and upon arrival in Klerksdorp, he suffered a cardiac arrest and despite all the efforts by the medical personnel, he succumbed and lost his life. I wish to pass my condolences to the Kegakilwe family, his friends, colleagues and comrades.
It is also alarming to learn that the Premier Professor Tebogo Job Mokgoro and the MEC for Public Works and Roads, Mr Saliva Molapisi have also tested positive to COVID-19. The Department wishes them speedy recovery. Contact tracing of all the cases including contacts with affected members of the Executive Council has started and at advanced stage.
I am a contact of all the three members of the Executive Council affected by COVID-19. As a precaution, I am now in isolation with no symptoms and continues to do my work virtually. I will take a test on Friday.
The North West Province is responding to COVID-19 at all levels. All Districts are now implementing a ward based screening and contact tracing programme. The Department has now conducted 5 049 941 Community based screening with 6172 referrals. Out of 6842 confirmed cases, 1, 574 recoveries have been confirmed.
As part of preparation for expected surge, the North West Province now has 435 standard COVID-19 beds, 33 high care beds and 55 intensive care unit beds in public and private hospitals.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda District has 370 standard beds at both Duff Scott and West Vaal Hospital. Klerksdorp Hospital will convert its XDR TB Unit into a 20 ICU beds, adding to 29 already identified and 20 high care beds.
Bojanala Platinum District which is the epicentre of the virus in the Province has a combined total of 82 beds of which 57 are standard, 5 high care and 20 ICU beds. Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital will convert 1 ward to house 12 ICU beds. There are additional 100 beds available at Bleskop while the old George Stegman Hospital facility will be converted into isolation facility. A 200 bed field hospital which was recently officially opened in partnership with Royal Bafokeng has come at the right time. The Province is also planning additional 500-bed field hospital.
In Ngaka Modiri Molema, the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital is to convert ward 2 into 12 ICU beds. Ward 1 of Gelukspan Hospital will be converted in isolation facility. In Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District, Old Vryburg hospital has been identified as isolation site.
There are 24 active quarantine facilities from both private and public facility. All these facilities excluding planned field hospitals have a combined capacity total of 741 beds.
I wish to send a red alert to the citizens of the Province. We are experiencing a sharp increase in the number of positive cases and deaths. This requires application of the necessary precautions. Citizens must abide by COVID-19 regulations by keeping social distancing, wearing masks, sanitizing and avoid unnecessary travel.
I thank you!
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.