Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that so far there were enough hospital beds in the country to accommodate COVID-19 patients but a process was under way to acquire more.
Mkhize said that government was concerned about the rapid increase in the number of infected people who required hospitalisation.
The country is now in what the minister calls the storm of the pandemic, with more than 287,000 recorded infections in the country.
In Gauteng, 4,624 COVID-19 patients were admitted to public and private facilities.
As of this morning, 4,172 people have died with the virus.
The province has recorded 644 coronavirus related deaths, while the Western Cape has the highest death toll, which stands at 2,385.
Mkhize said that his team would be assessing how many more beds were needed in the next few weeks.
“We have added 27,800 beds which have been put onto the system right across the country and we believe that these beds are important. What we are now doing is to make sure that they are not just there but also have access to oxygen piping and with that, we think our field beds are going to make the difference. When we look at the numbers, it looks we need to add an additional 12,000 beds, which we must bring in just to be sure that we don’t exceed the capacity.”
The minister said that in Gauteng, health workers are trying to find more beds for COVID-19 patients.
“In Gauteng, the numbers are rising very fast and we want to be sure that we match these numbers. It doesn’t take a long time, it takes three to four weeks to complete that, so we’ll need them as soon as we get them. So, I’ve tasked the team to go out and get additional beds to make sure that across the country we are ahead of the curve and so far we are ahead.”
Mkhize added that government was calling on clinicians to bring in more oxygen tanks to hospitals as this was becoming a key factor in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.