Gopolang Moloko
1 minute read
15 May 2020
12:24 pm

Rustenburg hospital nurses testing positive for virus highlights health system strain

Gopolang Moloko

Government efforts have managed to flatten the curve due to the lockdown, although maintaining this flattened curve will be an ongoing process, says Mkhize.

Health workers conduct tests for the Corona Virus in Stjwetla, Alexandra after a case of Covid-19 had been found there recently. Picture: Neil McCartney

Two nurses at the Netcare Ferncrest Hospital in Rustenburg have tested positive for Covid-19.

While local health MEC Madoda Sambatha is expected to visit the hospital on Friday, the rate of health workers testing positive has posed a crucial question on the preparedness of health facilities which, if not checked, may lead to hospitals temporarily shutting doors or departments as staffers undergo self-isolation, weakening the already strained department.

In April, an anaesthetist at the JMH Isipingo Hospital and a healthcare practitioner at the Hibiscus Hospital in Port Shepstone tested positive for Covid-19, while 11 cases were reported at the St Augustine Hospital in Durban.

The health department revealed that to date, hundreds of health workers have been infected with Covid-19 since the pandemic hit our shores. The department showed that the private sector was hit the hardest.

With over 403,000 tests conducted in the last 24 hours cycle according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, the total number of confirmed cases in South Africa stands at 12,739, as of Thursday, May 14.

Mkhize said the number of deaths is now at 238, and he expressed condolences to the loved ones of the departed and the health care workers who cared for them.

The continued strain on the health system has, as a result, resulted in some health workers becoming more vocal on issues of insufficient protective equipment.

The Tygerberg Hospital staff protest was the latest health care staffers to raise concerns over the lack of PPE among other grievances, a clear indicator of the added pressure the health system is under.

Although Mkhize has noted that government efforts have managed to flatten the curve due to the lockdown, he stressed that maintaining the flattened curve had to be an ongoing process.

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