Eightfold rise in Covid-19 hospital staff infections in KZN
Durban - IN THREE weeks, the number of staff who tested positive at Durban’s tertiary and quaternary hospital has multiplied nearly eightfold.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said 331 staff had tested positive for Covid-19 at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) on Friday, as reported by sister publication The Independent on Saturday.
Three weeks ago, IALCH chief executive Dr Thandeka Khanyile told the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature health portfolio committee during an oversight visit 42 staff had tested positive for the virus. Most infections came in the two weeks before the committee’s visit.
Earlier this month, hospital staff had protested about workers not being given the same personal protective equipment (PPEs) as workers in other wards. Other issues included alleged testing discrimination, one nurse allocated three ventilated patients and the authenticity of Covid-19 test results.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu had disapproved of the protest and later Nehawu had claimed positive cases had passed the 100 mark.
On Sunday, the MEC said about 300 health workers at IALCH had tested positive for Covid-19. That number included nurses, doctors, administration staff, general orderlies and others in the facility.
“The number of infected nurses is just above 100.”
Simelane-Zulu said that on Friday they had a meeting with the hospital’s chief executive, management and organised labour about infections. It was agreed “we will have to properly investigate the usage and availability of PPE in the facility because from our documents there is enough PPE”.
They agreed on setting up a committee to ensure everyone wore the proper PPE and used it correctly.
Premier Sihle Zikalala said on Sunday that 1557 health workers were infected, about 60% being nurses. So far 12 health workers have died in KZN.