Picture: cor gaasbeek/Pixabay
Picture: cor gaasbeek/Pixabay

JUST IN: Kingsway Hospital closed amid Covid-19 case

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Apr 15, 2020

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Durban - Netcare Kingsway Hospital in Durban is temporarily closed for new admissions.

This is in response to managing the Covid-19 exposure at the hospital.

According to Craig Murphy, regional director of Netcare, the origin of the exposure has been traced to a patient who was admitted to hospital via the emergency department on April 4 with a suspected stroke. 

"Upon admission, the patient was risk assessed and screened for covid-19 symptoms and exposure as per the Netcare protocol, which is aligned to the NICD guidelines. The patient did not exhibit any signs of the virus and on questioning his family, no symptoms or exposure risks were reported.

“During his hospitalisation, the patient was visited by his general practitioner on the evening of 7 April who mentioned to the treating specialist that he had recently treated him for flu like symptom on 1 April. 

"The treating specialist requested a COVID-19 test as a precautionary measure even though the patient was still asymptomatic. At the same time, the patient was placed in isolation as a person under investigation (PUI). The test results of the patient came back on 8 April confirming that the patient had a COVID-19 infection."

“In addition to closing the hospital for new admissions until further notice, we have taken several other measures” says Murphy.

“We embarked on an extensive programme of contact tracing so as to identify all nurses, doctors, paramedics, support staff and contract service providers in the hospital who may have had contact with the patient in question. Healthcare and other workers who have been exposed to the patient were asked to home-quarantine and self-monitor. Most of the identified contacts have been tested for COVID-19, the remainder of the exposed persons will be tested in the next few days. All potentially exposed patients have also been tested.”

“All of these individuals – those working in the hospital as well as patients – who have undergone COVID-19 laboratory testing are regarded as persons under investigation (PUIs) and have been placed in isolation to contain the possible spread of the virus. All of our staff, as well as our patients, have been offered counselling and this support will be ongoing.

Murphy said the emergency department was closed for outpatients as of April 14 and emergency medical service providers were notified to divert emergencies to other emergency departments. 

"The hospital management also promptly communicated the exposure to the doctors practising at the hospital and requested that they cancel consultations and conduct telemedicine or telephonic consultations where possible, or defer their consultations to a later date, in order to restrict access to the hospital."

Murphy said a systematic deep cleaning and decontamination process was started immediately, including the deployment of an ultraviolet disinfecting robot which has proved highly effective in destroying viruses, bacteria and fungal spores in healthcare facilities. 

"This process is expected to continue over the next days. We understand that these precautionary measures will cause concern and inconvenience to the community, especially those with family members or friends being cared for in the hospital, as well as our staff members, doctors and other persons working at our hospital and their families. However, we believe these measures are absolutely necessary to safeguard all patients and persons working at Netcare Kingsway Hospital," said Murphy. 

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