A total of 105 health care workers have tested positive for Covid-19 at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, the hospital confirmed. File picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)
A total of 105 health care workers have tested positive for Covid-19 at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, the hospital confirmed. File picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

105 Tygerberg Hospital staff test positive for Covid-19

By IOL and AP Time of article published May 21, 2020

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* This article has been updated to update incorrect information provided by the Western Cape Department of Health.

Cape Town - As many as 105 health care workers have tested positive for Covid-19 at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, authorities confirmed on Thursday.

In a brief statement, the hospital said those affected came from different categories of staff, but due to patient confidentiality they were unable to disclose any more details.

Laticia Pienaar, Tygerberg Hospital spokesperson, said that they "have noted across the health system, and in other sectors, there are several health care workers that are affected and is in isolation at home" but this has not had any negative effect on hospital's service delivery. 

"We have adequate staff and specialists on duty to render uninterrupted and quality service to the patients in hospital," she said.

The hospital currently has 126 Covid-19 related patients, 65 positive cases and 61 patients who are under investigation.

Pienaar said 22 of patients were in Critical Care (ICU and high care).

The hospital was one of the first in the country to open a designated coronavirus isolation ward and is situated in a district considered one of the hot spots in the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa.

On Wednesday Anncha Kepkey, a professional nurse and assistant manager for the Trauma and Emergency Department at Tygerberg Hospital, died after contracting Covid-19.

Kepkey was the third nurse to die of Covid-19-related illness in the Western Cape and the second from Tygerberg Hospital following the death of Ntombizakithi Ngidi.

Earlier this month Petronella “Aunty Nellie” Benjamin, 62, an Eerste River nurse, died a day before she was due to retire after decades of service as a health-care worker.

Pienaar said: "Infection and prevention control measures are up to standard in wards and staff have been provided personal protection equipment (PPE) to ensure their safety and that of the patients."

As of Thursday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa is 19 137, with 12153 or 63% of those cases in the Western Cape.

The province has also recorded the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the country, with 235 out of 369 deaths occuring in the Western Cape.

“No model upfront predicted what we see in Western Cape (province),” Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize told journalists Thursday. “The explosion of cases in Western Cape is out of the expected range and it may be that we need to have additional interventions to try and contain those numbers.”

Cape Town is expected to reach its peak of cases around the end of June, while the rest of South Africa is expected to peak in August or September.

Cape Town and Western Cape province are six to eight weeks ahead of the rest of South Africa in the outbreak, health experts said.

“The lessons we are learning now, we are sharing with the rest of the country,” said Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape's top health officer.

IOL and AP

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