BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has expressed fears that a possible spike in new COVID-19 cases following an outbreak of the Omicron variant could trigger a shortage of hospital beds as the city’s health institutions have inadequate intensive care unit (ICU) facilities.
City health services director Edwin Sibanda last week told Southern Eye that they were facing challenges, including lack of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.
“The number of ICU beds is not as high as we would wish. Should we get a variant that demands admissions into ICU, we don’t have enough beds at public hospitals. We only have beds at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Mater Dei Hospital, which are institutions that are out of reach for most people,” Sibanda said.
“Of course, we have faced challenges like inadequate materials, human resources and, at one time we were running around experiencing shortages of oxygen and oxygen canisters that were too small.
“We have had testing kits that are also giving us challenges, as well as shortages of equipment and lack of expertise in terms of handling severe cases in the
He said most of the new COVID-19 cases were of unvaccinated individuals.
“You will notice that the cases have gone up again because at one time, we had zero patients and we have gone back to 21 patients,” Sibanda said.
“But if you check the numbers, the unvaccinated people tend to be dominating the admissions in all cases. So this means that somehow, the vaccines are working, and they are reducing the number of deaths.”