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Update: KZN Hospital shut down indefinitely after COVID-19 deaths

FILE PHOTO KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu. Image: KZN Provincial Government Twitter

FILE PHOTO KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu. Image: KZN Provincial Government Twitter

Published Apr 9, 2020

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DURBAN - Netcare’s St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban has been shut indefinitely after the deaths of five COVID-19 patients who were treated at the hospital.

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said: “all non-COVID-19 patients had been discharged from the hospital and taken to other facilities, while those with minor ailments had been sent home.”

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Meanwhile,Netcare Chief Executive Officer, Dr Richard Friedland said contrary to certain misleading claims, all their staff members and doctors have all been provided with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on an ongoing basis.

“No Netcare facility has ever expected a staff member to work without appropriate PPE. Our PPE policy includes a directive on the wearing of masks during the COVID-19 pandemic which is, in fact, more conservative in that it provides greater protection than the current recommendations and guidelines of two highly respected health organisations, namely the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),” he said.

The hospital has also brought in a world-renowned epidemiologist Salim Karim to investigate the spread of Covid-19 at its St Augustine’s hospital in Durban after at least 47 staff members were infected and at least four patients died at the facility.

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“In addition, we have re-trained over 16 750 healthcare workers, other staff members and doctors on the appropriate and correct use of personal protective equipment, and compliance in this regard is being closely monitored,”said Dr Friedland.

Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu reiterated that there will be an investigation to determine if safety protocols for health workers may have been flouted.

“The investigation so far has indicated there might have been that challenge, that’s why we have decided we will continue to have an in-depth investigation into that challenge so we are able to understand what actually happened,” she said.

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