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Afr J Prim Health Care Fam Med ; 13(1): e1-e9, 2021 Dec 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580227


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus pandemic has put extreme pressure on health care services in South Africa. AIM: To describe the design, patients and outcomes of a field hospital during the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. SETTING: The Cape Town International Convention Centre was the first location in Cape Town to be commissioned as a field hospital that would serve as an intermediate care bed facility. METHODS: This was a retrospective descriptive study of patients admitted to this facility between 8th June 2020 and 14th August 2020 using deidentified data extracted from patient records. RESULTS: There were 1502 patients admitted, 56.4% female, with a mean age of 58.6 years (standard deviation [s.d.]: 14.2). The majority of patients (82.9%) had at least one comorbidity, whilst 15.4% had three or more. Nearly 80.0% (79.8%) of patients required oxygen and 63.5% received steroids, and only 5.7% of patients were required to be transferred for escalation of care. The mean length of stay was 6 days (s.d.: 4.8) with an overall mortality of 5.7%. CONCLUSION: This study highlights the role of a field hospital in providing surge capacity. Its use halved the predicted duration of stay at acute care hospitals, allowing them the capacity to manage more unstable and critical patients. Adaptability and responsivity as well as adequate referral platforms proved to be crucial. Daily communication with the whole health care service platform was a critical success factor. This study provides information to assist future health planning and strategy development in the current pandemic and future disease outbreaks.

COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mobile Health Units , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology , United States