Embattled St Augustine's and Kingsway hospitals to reopen on Monday after Covid-19 outbreaks
Embattled St Augustine's hospital in Durban and Kingsway hospital in Amanzimtoti are set to reopen their doors on Monday after outbreaks of Covid-19 at the hospital last month.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize ordered a probe into St Augustine's hospital — one of the largest private facilities in the country after it emerged that 66 people had tested positive — including 45 health-care workers — and six people died.
The hospital was closed on April 8. A week later, Kingsway hospital was closed after it emerged that several health-care workers and patients had tested positive.
Both hospitals were the subject of a probe by the provincial department of health amid allegations by health-care workers of not receiving proper safety gear.
In a statement on Saturday, Netcare regional director coastal Craig Murphy said that the KwaZulu-Natal department of health (KZN DoH) advised on Friday that both Netcare St Augustine’s and Netcare Kingsway hospitals may reopen.
“Since Netcare St Augustine’s and Netcare Kingsway hospitals were closed for new patient admissions in April, Netcare has been engaging and working closely, and on an ongoing basis, with the KZN DoH on all matters pertaining to Covid-19 at the hospitals as well as planning for their reopening,” Murphy said.
“Preparations for both the hospitals to reopen on Monday are currently under way. Last week, the hospitals had already further enhanced their disinfecting and decontaminating programmes of all the facilities on their premises. Doctors at Netcare St Augustine’s and Netcare Kingsway hospitals will also again be consulting from their rooms as from Monday.
“We are pleased that Netcare St Augustine’s and Netcare Kingsway hospitals can again offer much needed specialised medical care to the communities they serve, and we sincerely thank the communities for their patience and understanding over the past number of weeks."
The reopening comes amid frustration by more than 100 medical specialists who have consulting rooms at St Augustine's. The doctors said they were frustrated at not being able to provide “much needed” medical care to patients.
Meanwhile, the provincial department of health wouldn't comment to TimesLIVE on the status of the investigation into the hospital.
Netcare, who hired independent specialists to assist with the investigation, said they were also not aware of the current status of the investigation.
Murphy said: “The independent investigation by infectious diseases specialists and epidemiologists commenced some time ago. We have not received their final report. Discussing or releasing the findings of the independent investigation falls within the ambit of the department.”