Union wants another Durban hospital closed, claiming nurse tested positive for Covid-19
The Public Servants' Association (PSA) on Thursday called on the health department to temporarily shut down Durban's Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital after claims that a nurse there had tested positive for Covid-19.
PSA KZN manager Mlungisi Ndlovu said the union had received information that a nurse had contracted the virus at the public facility.
“We received information that one nurse contracted the virus and that management then took the decision to secretly test about 40 employees, who are now awaiting their results,” he told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE.
Ndlovu claimed the latest developments at the hospital came after a patient had been "transferred from a private hospital".
He said they had written to health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, requesting that the hospital be closed until they could assess the magnitude of the situation.
Essentially, they want the hospital closed until the results of the nurses' tests have come back.
TimesLIVE has seen a copy of the letter, dated April 9.
“We cannot afford to close down Albert Luthuli entirely, it has so many ventilation systems which will assist us in the fight against Covid-19,” said Ndlovu.
In a statement, provincial health department spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi said only the minister of health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, was authorised to confirm cases of those who had tested positive for Covid-19.
“Furthermore, both the premier of KZN, Sihle Zikalala, and KZN health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu have adopted a stance that the names of patients, hospitals and areas affected by coronavirus — the so-called 'hotspots' — will not be divulged,” said Nkosi.
She said this was to prevent the stigmatisation of patients, families, health facilities (unless there are extenuating circumstances), and communities.
“People who are affected by Covid-19 need our solidarity, care and support — not discrimination,” said Nkosi.
She said the government was focusing on demystifying the novel coronavirus, so as to create awareness about the virus, what its symptoms are, as well as what those who display them need to do.
“Also important is for people to heed the instructions of the lockdown and stay at home. We call on the media to support these efforts,” said Nkosi.
On Wednesday, Simelane-Zulu announced that the Netcare St Augustine's Hospital had been closed indefinitely after an outbreak of the virus at the private facility.
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