South Africa: COVID-19 - Four Die From Virus At St Augustine's Hospital, Durban, As 47 Staffers Test Positive

Netcare is investigating a Covid-19 outbreak at St Augustine's Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal where four people have died from Covid-19 and 47 staff members tested positive and measures have been put in place to contain the outbreak.

In a statement on Wednesday, Netcare CEO Richard Friedland said 33 of the 47 staffers were self-isolating and the remaining 14 were being "accommodated" at Netcare's facility "to ensure they are able to safely self-quarantine".

The hospital group has roped in Professor Salim Karim, who is a special special adviser to the Minister of Health, and a team of epidemiology and infectious diseases specialists from the University of KwaZulu-Natal to fully investigate the underlying cause and nature of this outbreak.

Fifteen patients tested positive and have been accommodated at the hospital. One of them has since recovered and tested negative, he said.

The hospital is now in a process of contacting all patients who have been treated in its emergency department since 1 March to determine if they require testing. St Augustine's shut its emergency unit on 2 April after staff members were found to have contracted coronavirus.

The hospital is undergoing a deep clean in the wake of this.


On Tuesday, Mkhize expressed concern about the number of healthcare professionals who contracted the virus.

He said more than 60 people tested positive, including patients.

"We are concerned about developments at St Augustine's Hospital," he said.

"The provincial department is engaging the hospital about closing down parts of the facility.

"We must now trace all the contacts. It is a matter of serious concern and we are dealing with it," Mkhize added.

Friedland said the hospital was putting measures in place to contain the outbreak, which include a decontamination process, mass screening of staff members and a multi-disciplinary investigation into the cause of the outbreak.

There are 1 982 people who work at the hospital and more than half have been tested for Covid-19, Friedland said.

"Covid-19 symptomatic screening of all persons working in the hospital is continuing on a daily basis as some individuals could be asymptomatic but start showing symptoms in following days," Friedland said.

Source: News24

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