Picture: Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
Picture: Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Seven nurses at a Muizenberg care centre test positive for Covid-19

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Jun 1, 2020

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Cape Town - Seven care workers at a care centre in Muizenberg have tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19).

Six of the workers at the Evergreen Care Centre tested positive on Thursday and the seventh on Saturday.

Volunteer social worker Lorraine Moko said seven nurses had tested positive for Covid-19 and six were “thrown out” of the facility after their results were known.

“The seventh one was also forcefully removed but that's when I intervened. Three are now in isolation in government facilities and the other four are just too angry to speak to anyone,” said Moko.

“Their concern was that they contracted the virus at work and were now expected to go and infect their families. My concern was that they be released to their homes, where they are living in congested space without proper quarantine.”

MP and advocate Hishaam Mohamed stopped the seven workers from returning home after he was informed of their status. “The workers were also told they should go home and isolate themselves. They were shocked. One of the workers refused to leave and locked herself up in one of the rooms at the Centre,” he said.

The workers were concerned about infecting their families as their homes in nearby Vrygrond and Khayelitsha were not conducive for quarantine.

Mohamed said: “The structures that they live in are not suitable for self-isolation. There would also be the concomitant risk of infecting family members at home.

“The attitude of the Evergreen management was not only disgusting but also unlawful. By forcing their loyal employees to go home, knowing it was not safe or possible for isolation, they effectively contravened the Covid-19 regulations as it had the risk of infecting not only the family members of the care workers but also an entire community.”

Evergreen co-founder James Wilson confirmed there were now 11 Covid-19 cases, of which seven were care workers who had tested positive for Covid-19.

Before last week, the facility had zero confirmed cases. “The Department of Health said any nurses that test positive in a nursing home facility should not be retained at the facility, they should either be transported to a self-isolation provincial ward or alternatively they can choose to self-isolate at home, provided that they have the facility to self-isolate," said Wilson.

“We regret we didn’t counsel them enough. Under no circumstances were they evicted or told to go home.”

The facility cares for about 200 elderly residents over the age of 70. Wilson confirmed that two of their residents were infected.

“It’s a very emotional situation when you’re told you have the coronavirus," said Wilson.

Dr Keith Cloete, head of the provincial Health Department, said the department was alerted to the situation on Saturday afternoon and offered to accommodate all workers who had tested positive for Covid-19 at an isolation facility.

@TheCapeArgus

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Cape Argus

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