Original Research

A COVID-19 field hospital in a conference centre – The Cape Town, South Africa experience

Bonjana Bulajic, Kamlin Ekambaram, Colleen Saunders, Vanessa Naidoo, Lee Wallis, Nabeela Amien, Tasleem Ras, Klaus von Pressentin, Gamuchirai Tadzimirwa, Nadia Hussey, Steve Reid, Peter Hodkinson
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 13, No 1 | a3140 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v13i1.3140 | © 2021 Peter Hodkinson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 July 2021 | Published: 09 December 2021

About the author(s)

Bonjana Bulajic, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Kamlin Ekambaram, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Colleen Saunders, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Vanessa Naidoo, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Lee Wallis, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Nabeela Amien, Division of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Tasleem Ras, Division of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Klaus von Pressentin, Division of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Gamuchirai Tadzimirwa, Division of Clinical Haematology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Nadia Hussey, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Steve Reid, Primary Health Care Directorate, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Peter Hodkinson, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

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.


Keywords

COVID; field hospital; multidisciplinary; palliative care; South Africa; health services; pandemic; infectious diseases

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Crossref Citations

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