Increase in the number of Covid-19 cases at KwaZulu

Increase in the number of Covid-19 cases at KwaZulu

The increase in the number of Covid-19 cases at KwaZulu-Natal hospitals has instilled fear among health workers. Two nurses at Wentworth Hospital tested positive on Thursday, while 16 cases were confirmed at General Gizenga Mpanza Regional Hospital (formerly Stanger Hospital) – nine mothers, four doctors, two newborns and one nurse. It is alleged that three doctors and eight nurses were waiting for the results at Wentworth Hospital. Another health worker at a Midlands hospital was reportedly placed in isolation last Monday.

A source at Umgeni psychiatric hospital in Howick said a staff member’s wife was self-quarantining at home after testing negative. It is alleged the man contracted the virus through his son who was admitted to Eden Gardens Private Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.
A health-care worker, who did not want to be named, said she was concerned at the developments.

“We have a confirmed Covid-19 case here at work. The CEO and nursing manager were at first a no-show. While there was a crisis, both rushed to President Ramaphosa’s visit at the Royal Showground. Although the HoD issued a directive that up to 30% of non-essential staff can be recalled, the human resource manager has refused,” she said.

On Thursday, the management was locked in a meeting. She said staff were in a panicked state. Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa provincial secretary Mandla Shabangu confirmed that members were informed that their colleague had tested positive for Covid-19 at Wentworth Hospital. Some hospital managers have been accused of trying to hide the new cases. This is a blatant disregard of lives for staff and patients,” said Shabangu.

Meanwhile, the Public Servants Association (PSA) in KZN has called for immediate closure of uMgungundlovu Health District as one of the managers tested positive for covid-19. The union said the employee, with an underlying medical condition, was receiving medical attention at Grey’s Hospital. The PSA claimed she was among those allegedly forced by the Department of Health to perform duties exposing them to the virus.

“The PSA has on numerous occasions sensitised the Department of Health KZN to comply with the OHS (occupational health safety), lockdown regulations, health guidelines, National Disaster Management Act and the president’s announcement that the safety of employees and public is of paramount importance.

“Therefore, employees with comorbidities should be allowed to work from home in order to minimise the risk. But the department choose to ignore all the prescripts and breach their own rules,” the union said. The provincial health department did not respond to questions by the time of publication.