56-year-old Nico Scheepers spent hours in an ambulance as paramedics tried desperately to secure a bed for him. He had tested positive for Covid-19 before Christmas and remained in isolation at home. On New Year’s day his condition worsened and he needed hospital care.

The prominent, successful and popular resident from the east of Pretoria passed away from Covid-19 related complications after an ambulance transported him to five different hospitals where he was refused entry due to a lack of available beds.

Although the City of Tshwane says it has not reached a crisis in terms of admitting seriously ill Covid-19 patients to hospital, increasing numbers have ratcheted up the pressure. “Now in the first week of January, it has increased to 1 286 cases a day and 29 deaths on average,” said Health MMC Sakkie du Plooy.

Scheepers passed away as his partner Monia Vermaak watched him suffer. This was after she alerted ER24 to pick him up at their home in Six Fountains Estate, after he had collapsed on the ground and was turning purple.

Unfortunately he could not be admitted to various hospitals, among them Mediclinic Heart Hospital, Life Wilgers and Steve Biko Academic, because there were no open beds. Scheepers was admitted to Netcare Pretoria East Hospital, but died. Paramedics in the city say they have had their hands full. #ladi_jaja?

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