Staff members and patients at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital have tested positive for Covid-19, the Western Cape department of health has confirmed.
But it refuses to divulge how many cases had been reported there, claiming this was “in order to uphold both patient and staff confidentiality”.
Department spokesperson Natalie Watlington said she could “confirm that staff members and patients confirmed positive for Covid-19” at the government facility and that the affected areas in the hospital had been closed temporarily for decontamination.
“As the pattern of the spread of coronavirus develops, it is clear that new clusters of infections are concentrated in the places where people congregate such as essential services,” said Watlington.
“Health facilities are also places where gatherings occur and, over the last few days, we have found positive cases of staff at various health facilities across the province.”
These included the District Six, Du Noon, Matthew Goniwe and Retreat community health centres.
According to the department, 239 health workers in the private and public sector had tested positive for the coronavirus by Thursday.
Two nurses and a porter had died, while 157 health workers had recovered.
Friday’s provincial statistics show 7,586 cases have been confirmed in the Western Cape, up by 366 from 7,220 a day ago.
An additional eight deaths have been reported, bringing the total of fatalities to 137.
When a positive case is confirmed, the health facility or the specific contaminated area may be temporarily closed to allow for the containment of the spread of the virus and decontamination, Watlington said.
“All staff in the affected areas are screened. Testing will be done for those who are deemed at risk and will be sent home while awaiting their results. In the event a staff member or clients tests positive, all close contacts will be asked to quarantine at home.
“As per protocol, the facility or affected area will be decontaminated, deep cleaned in line with prescribed infection prevention standards and reopened with staff who do not pose a risk.”