MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu
Picture: Supplied
MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu Picture: Supplied

Health-care facilities will not close, says KZN MEC

By Karen Singh Time of article published Jun 2, 2020

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Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health yesterday said five staff members at Durban’s King Edward VIII Hospital tested positive for Covid-19.

Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane- Zulu confirmed the report, adding that staff members were now calling for the hospital to close down as a result.

Simelane-Zulu said that the department would not be embarking on the closure of every health care facility where staff test positive.

“Instead, we are guided by the extent of infections, based on a formal risk assessment study, in line with guidelines from the World Health Organization on the clinical management of Covid-19,” she said.

The MEC said hospital management was conducting a risk assessment study, which includes where the infection took place, when it happened, who was infected and who their contacts were.

The department’s intervention would be based on findings from that investigation, said Simelane-Zulu.

“The decision on whether to close the theatre, or any other part of the hospital, will be determined by the number of positive tests and the extent of the building’s exposure to the virus,” Simelane-Zulu said.

She added that it was the responsibility of the government to provide all the necessary equipment and gear to prevent the transmission of the virus within the hospital setting, between patients and staff.

Simelane-Zulu said staff and patients had a responsibility to adhere to safety precautions.

“We appeal to them to use their personal protective equipment correctly, and at all times. They must leave nothing to chance, because any person is a potential carrier of Covid-19,” she said .

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said the union agreed with the hospital management that the theatre section should be deep cleaned.

Nehawu provincial spokesperson Ayanda Zulu said high-risk contacts should be tested.

“We have called upon the provincial department and the Department of Employment and Labour to conduct an investigation,” said Zulu.

To date South Africa has confirmed 34 357 Covid-19 cases, with 17 291 recoveries and 705 deaths.

The Mercury

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