– Lia Snijman. Above: Stellenbosch Hospital’s entrance. Photo: Google Street View.

“A facility for COVID-19 screening and testing has been erected at Stellenbosch Hospital,” says Sandra Maritz, spokesperson for the Cape Winelands area of the Western Cape Department of Health.

This facility is described as a “temporary testing and triage centre”. It will be used to screen people before they enter Stellenbosch Hospital. They are asked general health questions to determine if they have to be tested for Covid-19, and are directed towards testing facilities if need be.

“The team is making final adjustments before it will be ready for the handover. The handover will take place soon,” she said.

She reminded people that they should not go directly to a healthcare facility if they think they have Covid-19, but should rather call ahead so that arrangements can be made to reduce their contact with other people.

The Sonstraal Hospital in Paarl is an existing TB hospital that is now “being converted into an Intermediate Care facility for Covid-19 patients with a capacity of 150 beds”. It initially had 84 beds. The TB patients have been transferred to other facilities, such as the Brewelskloof TB Hospital in Worcester, or have otherwise been discharged to continue treatment at home where possible. There are thus currently no patients on site.

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize at the Sonstraal Hospital on 2 June. Photo: Twitter.

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize at the Sonstraal Hospital on 2 June. Photo: Twitter.

“The construction and modification of the facility into an intermediate care facility for COVID-19 patients is being done in phases. The first phase consists of the reconstruction of the existing wards into COVID-19 wards and for this the bed capacity will be reduced from 84 beds to about 63 to accommodate donning and doffing (of PPE) areas in the wards. The second phase will see about 90 beds added to the existing (and now reduced) bed capacity with prefabricated wards constructed on the premises. In total, the facility will then have a bed capacity of about 150 beds once all the phases are completed,” says Leensie Lötter, communications officer for the Western Cape Health Department in the West Coast District and at the Paarl Hospital.

“The package of care offered at the facility will be the same as those offered at other new/temporary facilities in the Cape Metro, including Brackengate, CTICC and Kayelitsha. The facility will thus offer intermediate care for COVID-19 patients,” she says.
The first phase of conversion is set to be completed by the end of July, and the second phase by the end of August.