Mkhize concerned as doctors, nurses test positive for Covid-19

29 March 2020 - 08:32 By TimesLIVE
Doctors and nurses, in the frontline against the coronavirus pandemic, have tested positive for Covid-19 in SA. Stock photo.
Doctors and nurses, in the frontline against the coronavirus pandemic, have tested positive for Covid-19 in SA. Stock photo.
Image: 123rf.com/Dmitriy Shironosov

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says a number of doctors and nurses have been infected by Covid-19 — not by patients but by family, friends and colleagues.

Part of a hospital in Mpumalanga had to be shut down and disinfected after a doctor, who had returned from a holiday abroad and interacted with staff and patients, tested positive. The symptoms emerged only a few days after his return to the province.

“He then tested positive and was quarantined. This led to other health workers who had come into contact with him to be screened, quarantined and tested. A decision was also made for that section of the hospital to be closed in order to disinfect it. This has been completed and it will be reopening during the course of next week,” Mkhize said in a statement on Saturday evening.

A 70-year-old doctor, one of three infected in the Free State, is in ICU. A nurse and a neurophysicist also tested positive in the province.

A doctor tested positive in Limpopo after travelling abroad. He remained in isolation and has since recovered.

Six doctors were infected in Gauteng with most having mild or no symptoms.

“We have noted with concern a number of confirmed Covid-19 cases of health workers who work both in the private and public hospitals. This includes doctor and nurses. We mention this because health workers are in the front line of this battle. They are exposed not only to their families but to the patients who they are meant to treat,” said Mkhize.

“It must be emphasised that none of these health workers were infected by patients that they were treating. They came into contact with their family members, friends and other colleagues who had tested positive for Covid-19. All individuals who were identified as contacts of these health workers have been put in quarantine and are being monitored,” he added.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in SA increased to 1,187 on Saturday.

“We must outrightly state that these numbers do not indicate a reduction in the number of infections. It is merely a reflection of positive results that were received, verified and ready for today’s reporting,” said Mkhize.


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