The North West Department of Health opened a new forensic pathology mortuary in Brits on Thursday, 5 June, in preparation of expected Covid-19 deaths in the area.
The new mortuary, that cost a whopping R24 million, was funded by the Sibanye Stillwater mine group whose mines have the highest number of confirmed cases. The deputy minister of health, Dr Joe Phaahla opened the mortuary.
“This is part of the province’s health infrastructure preparedness. The hospitals also have arrangements with private mortuaries for additional capacity and there is also a provincial Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that directs the management of human remains of covid-19,” the North West COVID-19 Command Council said this week.
The council said municipalities have also investigated grave capacities in line with COVID-19 worst case scenarios and the lists of graves have been submitted to the Provincial Disaster Management Centre. New sites for graveyards have also been identified.
The new mortuary in Brits has a body storage capacity of 117, three cold rooms, 40 shelves for decomposed bodies and 60 for fresh ones, the council said.
It also houses a seminar room and teaching room, a data management room, offices for pathologists and a room for imaging bodies. This equipment is still to be purchased.
The provincial government has also identified the Vaalkop Dam, the Rustenburg Recreation Centre and the Golden Leopards Manyane resort as potential quarantine sites.