Covid-19 cases are being concealed at Stanger Hospital
Durban – “Yes, we pledged to serve but we did not pledge to go and die.”
This was according to a nurse working at General Justice Gizenga Mpanza Regional Hospital (Stanger Hospital), which was closed to new admissions after the hospital recorded 16 confirmed Covid-19 cases – nine mothers, four doctors, two newborns and one nurse.
The nurse said the outbreak was in the paediatric ward, where the doctors, mothers and babies were.
“Apparently the boarder mothers wrote a letter to Dr Zweli Mkhize, complaining that they had tested positive for Covid-19 at the hospital. They came to give birth and stayed at the hospital, waiting for their babies to be discharged, and got infected through the doctors in paediatrics, who had tested positive,” she claimed.
After news of the doctors testing positive broke at the hospital, management allegedly refused to test the nurses who had been in contact with the doctors, and tried to hide the cases.
“A nurse in the surgical ward tested positive. She had been in the Covid-19 ward but was rotated to another ward, like other nurses. It was also said that the 10 nurses who were tested should not reveal their results. Everything must be hidden in Stanger. I don’t understand,” she said.
The nurse also alleged that a patient had been moved from the Covid-19 ward before his results came back from the laboratory. When they did, he had tested positive but was already in another ward.
“We have families, we have children, we have elderly mothers; you can bring this home to your 60-year-old mother and to your children,” she said.
“I also feel for the patients who came to the hospital, who are innocent and clueless.”
The woman said the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) shop stewards removed them from their wards on Monday and told them to strike, asking them if they wanted to die in the hospital.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said what was of particular concern was that the infections occurred, despite the hospital’s infection prevention and control (IPC) measures, as well as the requisite personal protective equipment (PPE) that was made available to the staff.
“The first known Covid-19 case involves a mother, who reportedly did not disclose that her husband was one of the positive cases linked to a supermarket chain store, in Ballito. She was housed at a boarder mothers’ lodge at the hospital, where other mothers soon tested positive,” said Simelane-Zulu.
She said all positive staff and patients have been isolated and all contact-mapping, tracing, testing, quarantine and isolation protocols were followed.
“The hospital, with 219 patients, has effectively been turned into a quarantine site. All staff and patients in the surgical ward and ICU were tested,” she said.
Simelane-Zulu said the rest of the staff were tested on Monday and on Tuesday, which also allowed for the decontamination of the facility.
She said an investigation was under way to determine how the virus spread rapidly through the hospital.
Moreover, a high-level outbreak response team from the province was engaging with hospital management, organised labour and relevant stakeholders on best practice to ensure the safety of staff and patients, as well as the rendering of adequate support, and further intervention where necessary.Low-risk patients will be diverted to other hospitals in the district.
Serious cases needing a higher level of care will be diverted to King Edward VIII Hospital. Obstetrics and gynaecological cases will be diverted to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, King Edward VIII and RK Khan hospitals. Chronic patients will be assessed at the hospital gate, patients issued with three months’ medical supplies and be down-referred to Central Chronic Medicine Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) sites.
Nehawu provincial secretary = said they did not know shop stewards had removed nurses from their wards on Monday, but they were aware of the issues at the hospital.
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