File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

KZN Health confirms rise in Covid-19 cases among health care workers

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Dec 13, 2020

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The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has confirmed that there has been a significant rise in Covid–19 infections among health workers.

The department has also urged members of the public to not panic and to strictly adhere to Covid-19 regulations.

“It is with a deep sense of concern that we, indeed, confirm a significant rise in Covid–19 infections among health workers, which has become noticeable in recent weeks,” said KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu in a statement on Sunday.

“Those who have borne the brunt of Covid– 19 include our frontline staff, such as nurses, doctors, as well as allied health workers, administrative clerks, and general orderlies.”

At Addington Hospital, a total of 38 staff members have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of December 2020. This includes five doctors, 11 nursing staff, one allied worker and 21 support staff members.

Addington Hospital continues to function and is accepting all walk-in patients.

It is worth noting that only those who are picked up by ambulance are being diverted to Prince Mshiyeni Memorial and King Edward VIII hospitals.

At RK Khan Hospital, a total of 23 staff members have been tested positive. This number is made up of seven nurses, 10 doctors, two radiologists, three clerks and one general orderly.

Contrary to “unfounded” reports, RK Khan Hospital is also open and rendering healthcare services. The hospital is following strict Covid–19 infection prevention and control protocols.

The MEC said that the cases are flaring up due to people becoming complacent.

“Generally, Covid–19 is only flaring up now, because when the Covid-19 statistics started to go down, too many people became complacent and started assuming that the virus was no longer a threat.”

“This was despite our constant warning about the possibility of a Covid-19 resurgence, and the need to adhere to the precautions.

A total of 7 451 health care workers have been infected with COVID-19 in the public sector since the beginning of the pandemic. Of the total infected, 91 (1%) have died.

The majority of the infected health care workers were nurses (57%), followed by doctors at 6%, with the balance coming from other categories.

Earlier this week, Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced officially that the country is experiencing the second wave of the pandemic.

“We wish to re-iterate that now is not the time to panic, or point fingers, or despair. We appreciate the courageous and gallant manner in which healthcare workers have helped us fight COVID – 19, and we call upon them to, at all times, remain alive to the high risk that they face,” said Simelane-Zulu in the statement.

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