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In the week of 21 – 24 July, jubilant George Hospital staff said farewell to 12 patients who have received treatment in the COVID-19 ward. George Hospital is currently facing significant service pressure due patients requiring critical care treatment due to COVID-19. The hospital has established an 18-bed ICU unit dedicated to COVID-ICU.


For the past two weeks this unit has been consistently full. Patients in this ward are either ventilated or treated using High Flow Nasal Oxygen therapy. Nursing care for these patient is particularly intense and highly technical. In addition to the 18 patients in COVID-ICU, the hospital is treating 4 to 6 patients using high flow oxygen in the general COVID-19 wards.


Monica Jantjies is one of the patients who were discharged from George Hospital after spending 9 days in the hospital. Monica (54) from Thembalethu in George had to hospitalised due to breathing difficulties as a result of COVID-19. Being a diabetic with high blood pressure, she was at high risk of severe COVID-19 and health complications. Her symptoms started with loss of taste and smell as well as a headache. These soon turned into breathing difficulties. “I went to the hospital when I felt really sick and was surprised to learn that I had COVID-19,” says Monica. Even though the experience was an emotional one, she said that her faith kept her emotionally strong.


“The George Hospital staff were so good to me. They were friendly. Really good people.” When asked what she looked forward to most when going home she says cooking and her own bed and being with her two children. Monica urges her community and the rest of the province to adhere to safety precautions. “COVID-19 is here and real and we should all take the necessary precaution to keep ourselves and families safe.”


“The response from the hospital staff has been incredible, with everyone working above and beyond as part of our overall response. In addition to the front-line nurses, doctors and allied health professionals, we have an amazing team of support staff who are all assisting.


"This includes clinical engineers to ensure the medical equipment is fully functional, finance staff procuring PPE and medical consumables, HR staff who are recruiting additional nurses, along with porters, cleaners, linen bank and administrative staff. Every day at I hear new examples of boundaries being challenged and the previously impossible made a reality.


"Our good clinical outcome are a testimony to the dedication and commitment of the team. Like so many others in our community, healthcare workers are also struggling with the impact of lockdown, balancing childcare commitments and all the pressures that life during the pandemic presents.


"Our staff also carry the daily fear of becoming infected and many with co-morbidities continue to come to work, despite knowing the risks. Every day I am humbled by the by the sacrifices of all our healthcare workers. Every day I feel immensely proud of the dedicated George hospital staff who are willing to work so hard for our patients,” says Michael Vonk, CEO of George Hospital.

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