Inanda Community Health Centre. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
Inanda Community Health Centre. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Inanda clinic closes after Covid-19 outbreak among staff

By SAKHISENI NXUMALO Time of article published May 18, 2020

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Durban - Unions have raised concerns about the rise in infections among healthcare workers after four nurses and one doctor at Inanda Community Health Centre tested positive for Covid-19.

Speaking at a media briefing on Sunday, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala confirmed the cases at the Inanda clinic which had led the Department of Health to shut down the facility.

Zikalala said the facility had since been decontaminated and all workers had been tested.

“Their results are being conveyed to them continuously,” he said.

“So far, there have been no new positive cases from the facility. In the interim, surrounding clinics have been alerted to accept patients.

“To mitigate the impact of this situation and ensure continued health-care service, we have roped in mobile clinics from KwaMashu and oThongathi to service the community,” said Zikalala.

He also assured health workers that the province has adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) stock at every facility.

The premier said the available stock was enough to cope with the demand for more than a month.

The Mercury visited Inanda on Sunday and there were several people on the roads with no social distancing being observed.

A resident who spoke to The Mercury said since the start of the lockdown, it had been business as usual in Inanda, with people walking around in groups.

“There has never been a lockdown in Inanda. We are always out in the streets doing whatever we want. People only behave when they see police around, which here is unlikely. I’m sure several people here have been infected.”

National Health and Allied Workers Union KZN secretary Ayanda Zulu said the lack of proper PPE in health facilities was “a big worry”.

“It seems like the department keeps misleading the public, claiming there are enough. Close to 200 workers in the province have tested positive,” said Zulu.

He said they were awaiting a report from the department about several hospitals with workers who had tested positive for Covid-19 as this would provide information on whether the department took precautionary measures or whether it was negligent.

“If we are not happy about it, we’ll take the matter to court. Where we think there was negligence, we’re going to take on the Department of Health. When the health workers in our community facilities test positive, it’s a huge worry,” said Zulu.

Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA provincial secretary Mandla Shabangu said they were concerned about the rise in infections among health workers.

“We have proposed that every health worker must be tested in all facilities. The department, however, said that they don’t have enough capacity to do that. There’s a possibility that there are more health-care workers who are positive,” said Shabangu.

The DA spokesperson on health, Dr Rishigen Viranna, said they wrote to the MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, calling for a detailed facility cluster infection management plan.

According to Viranna, KZN has been the epicentre of infections among health workers, with rising infections in private and public hospitals.

“With more than 80% of KZN’s population reliant on public sector hospitals, this is our major concern.

“In addition, we have called for the urgent release of investigative reports into infections at St Augustine’s, Kingsway and Addington hospitals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zikalala said the General Justice Gizenga Mpanza Regional Hospital in Stanger which closed after several positive Covid-19 cases would resume its operations on Monday.

The Mercury

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government's 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or go to SA Coronavirus for more information.

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