Suren Naidoo
2 minute read
8 Apr 2020
7:49 am

Netcare hospital under scrutiny as 48 staff contract coronavirus

Suren Naidoo

St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban could partially close, warns health minister.

The 464-bed Netcare St Augustine's Hospital in Durban, one of the group's largest hospital's in South Africa. Image: Netcare St Augustine's Hospital Facebook Page

JSE-listed private hospital group Netcare is facing a Covid-19 fallout as 48 staff members have tested positive for the contagion coronavirus at its St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban.

On Tuesday Health Minister Zweli Mkhize warned that the parts of the hospital could close, after confirming that 66 people linked to the hospital, including 48 staff members, have thus far tested positive for Covid-19.

St Augustine’s is the largest private hospital in KwaZulu-Natal and is regarded as one of the flagship healthcare facilities within Netcare, South Africa largest hospital group.

“We are concerned about developments at St Augustine’s Hospital. 66 [people] tested positive over the past few days. About 48 of them are staff. The provincial health department is engaging the hospital, with a view to closing parts of the hospital down,” Mkhize said.

“We hope the fumigation process will start soon there. We have also assigned specialists there. We must always be on the lookout. The infection can seep in from any institution. We must now trace all the contacts. It is a matter of serious concern and we are dealing with it,” he added.

On Friday KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala revealed during a media briefing that 11 healthcare workers from a private hospital in Durban had tested positive for Covid-19. He did not mention the hospital, however local media reported that it was the Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital.

Following Zikalala’s statement, Netcare’s Group CEO, Dr Richard Friedland, confirmed that the hospital’s trauma unit had been closed and the hospital was no longer taking any new admissions. At the time, he also confirmed that three Covid-19-related deaths had taken place at the hospital.

Netcare is yet to confirm or comment on the latest statement by the Health Minister that 48 staff at the hospital had now test positive for Covid-19.

After Zikalala’s comment on Friday, Mkhize appealed to anyone who had visited St Augustine’s Hospital since the beginning of March to be tested for coronavirus. At the time he said around 150 tests linked to the hospital had already been carried out.

Meanwhile, giving an update on South Africa’s latest Covid-19 numbers on Tuesday, Mkhize announced that there were now 1 749 confirmed cases, with 13 deaths. He said that the number of patients who are being treated was now “slowly recovering” and added that mass testing had started in all provinces.

Brought to you by Moneyweb

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.