Maverick Citizen


Emotional healing after Covid-19 trauma — the next step for healthcare workers in the Western Cape

(Illustrative image | Sources: Leila Dougan | Rawpixel)

Western Cape healthcare workers will begin the process of healing after the deaths of their colleagues, family and friends. This comes as coronavirus cases in the province start to decline.

A process of grieving and healing for healthcare workers has been launched in the Western Cape, said provincial health department head Dr Keith Cloete at a media briefing on Tuesday, 19 January. The latest statistics record that 8,367 healthcare workers in the Western Cape have been infected with Covid-19 and 102 have died. 

“We have started an intentional process of grieving and healing for all healthcare workers, after the significant emotional and mental trauma experienced,” said Cloete. At present, there are 796 active cases among healthcare workers, broken down to: 

  • 62 doctors; 
  • 345 nurses; 
  • 20 radiographers; 
  • 4 pharmacists; and
  • 365 others (security guards, admin staff, cleaners).

The number of active cases has begun to decline in the province, compared with the previous week’s reporting. This isn’t the first time Cloete has mentioned the mental wellbeing of healthcare workers.

Keith Cloete: Western Cape needs ‘to provide Covid relief for healthcare workers and their families’

Cloete said there was enough personal protective equipment for healthcare workers across the province, with more orders placed in recent weeks. He said the province was also scaling up support for mental health issues:

“What we want to do is open the space for all our healthcare workers.”

Cloete said the province had reached the peak of second wave infections, with decreases in confirmed cases, hospitalisations and deaths — but this was being monitored for any potential localised outbreaks. 

“Our healthcare workers have and continue to face significant mental and emotional strain,” said Cloete. 

Also addressing the media briefing, Premier Alan Winde said the Western Cape provincial government had written to National Health Minister Dr Zweli Mhkize about lowering restrictions for the province. 

Watch Winde’s comments here:


Winde said the province would ask for the ban on access to public spaces and beaches to be lifted and the curfew to be reduced to 11pm-4am to allow restaurants to have a full dinner service. Winde also will request that alcohol sales be resumed for offsite consumption from Monday to Thursday. The premier will also ask for onsite alcohol sales to resume at establishments such as restaurants and wine farms on weekends, as “such sales are critical for the survival of wine tourism in the Western Cape”. DM


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