The Nasrec Field Hospital: South Africa’s COVID-19 “Miracle”

A 600 bed field hospital for patients who can't self-isolated at home has been built in Johannesburg in six weeks.

The Nasrec Field Hospital: South Africa’s COVID-19 “Miracle”[Image: News 24/Azarrah Karrim]

The installation of a 600 bed field hospital in Johannesburg has been deemed a miracle operation in the fight against COVID-19 in South Africa.

Dr Vis Naidoo, facility manager of the Nasrec field hospital in Johannesburg, has said that it’s a miracle that the field hospital has been constructed in such a short period of time, six weeks after the operation began in order to tackle the strains put on the healthcare system in South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a miracle what we achieved in the public sector within six weeks,” Naidoo said to News24“We started off with 600 beds and, by mid-August, we will increase to 1 500 [beds],”

He also said that the hospital’s current occupancy is 25 patients and that the 600 bed capacity includes 130 oxygenated beds.

The Nasrec field hospital will also include a number of leisure facilities, such as a games room, TV room, outdoor recreational areas and WiFi hotspots to keep quarantined patients occupied in their two-week (now 10 day) isolation period. So far, the hospital has recorded two deaths and a recovery rate of 70%.

“Our youngest patient was 14 years old and the oldest was 93, and both of them went home,” Naidoo said.

Dr Naidoo also says that patients require nothing but confirmation of their COVID-19 status to make use of the facilities.

“To come here, all you need is to be COVID-19 positive with your results; you can either come self-referred or you can be referred down from any government or non-government institution, he added. “All you need to bring is a supply of clothing to last you for the duration of your stay, which has now been decreased from 14 days to 10. The rest of the things are supplied.”

The Nasrec field hospital operation was give a one month deadline to complete the installation of 600 beds for COVID-19 positive patients in South Africa that could not self-isolate at home in April. It is staffed by 40 healthcare professionals, working on a voluntary basis, one professional nurse and five auxiliary nurses per 100 bed shift.

“We can be proud, as the public sector, with what we did… What we achieved there is unreal, I can take off my hat to the department,” Naidoo, who’s worked with the Department of Health for 37 years, concluded.

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