by Ester Mbathera

The Ministry of Health and Social Services has given the go-ahead for the preparation of a 130-bed Covid-19 isolation facility at Walvis Bay State Hospital.

The project is spearheaded by the Erongo Region Covid Care (ERCC) team that was driving the construction of a 150-bed containerised facility that never took off.

Anton Pretorius, a member of the ERCC task committee, in an interview with The Namibian said the team is now converting garages and two general wards at the state hospital into high-oxygen Covid-19 isolation wards.

“We need to prepare for the worst case. The first phase we are already busy with is the preparation of 110-bed facilities that should be up and running by the end of the week. The minister has given us an instruction to go ahead,” said Pretorius.

Many people with the virus are showing symptoms, with cases in transition from mild to severe needing oxygen.

Pretorius says this trend is being monitored.

The new facilities are expected to serve the Walvis Bay community until the end of August, when infection numbers are expected to peak.

The committee has also secured a 1 500 square metre warehouse from Fernandes Property at no cost, with the premises to be converted into a 275-bed isolation facility.

“We need to prepare further in case the disease spreads faster than we anticipated. For that we are preparing a 275-bed hybrid isolation facility that can be converted into a 225-bed medical facility once oxygen is added to it,” said Pretorius.

The ERCC is also in further consultations with the health ministry to put up a 50-bed ward at the state hospital for women with the novel coronavirus who have babies.

A large portion of the money for the projects is coming from private donors.

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