With Gauteng as the official COVID-19 epicentre in the country after over taking the Western Cape on Wednesday, the province is boosting its bed, staff and oxygen capacity at its healthcare facilities to meet rising demand.

On Wednesday, Gauteng took the top spot as they country’s epicentre, as it recorded 81 546 cases, 26 438 recoveries and 515 deaths.

In an effort to combat the exponential increase in cases, the province identified five field hospitals that will receive 3 920 additional general beds. These include NASREC, which will receive an additional 1 000 beds, Diepsloot 500, Soshanguve 500, Midrand 500, Daveyton 720 and Tshwane Show Ground 700.

An additional 1 575 beds are also in the pipeline for George Mukhari, Chris Hani Baragwanath and Ashanti Gold hospitals.

The Gauteng Provincial Command Council announced these plans during its weekly media update on COVID-19 on Friday.

The briefing took place with Premier David Makhura in absentia, following his announcement that he tested positive for COVID-19 and was in isolation.

Presenting the province’s plans, Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku, said the additional beds are expected by the end of July.

To date, Gauteng hospitals have admitted 5 784 COVID-19 patients, 1 846 have been discharged, while 515 succumbed to the virus.

“Currently, 3 006 patients are admitted in hospital, 197 of whom are ventilated and 551 are on oxygen,” said Masuku.

While the province’s cases are high, Gauteng’s mortality rate remains low.