In the statement, Craig Murphy, KZN Netcare regional director, said the origin of the exposure had been traced to a patient who was admitted to hospital via the emergency department on April 4 with a suspected stroke.
He said the patient was risk assessed and screened for Covid-19 symptoms and exposure, even though he was asymptomatic and there were no travel risks associated with him or his family.
“During his hospitalisation, the patient was visited by his general practitioner on the evening of April 7 who mentioned to the treating specialist that he had recently treated him for flu-like symptoms on April 1. The treating specialist requested a Covid-19 test as a precautionary measure, even though the patient was still asymptomatic. At the same time, the patient was placed in isolation as a person under investigation (PUI). The test results came back on April 8 confirming that the patient had a Covid-19 infection.”
This is the second Netcare hospital in the province where health-care workers have tested positive for the virus. Last week 48 nurses at Netcare's St Augustine's hospital tested positive for the virus.
Simelane-Zulu said that this was becoming a worrying trend.
“We are very worried about the situation and it's more serious when two hospitals from one group are experiencing the same kind of situation. I want to indicate that we're taking this matter really seriously because it's starting to show that there is a serious challenge,” she said, adding that investigations were continuing.
Simelane-Zulu said that at that stage it was too early to tell whether the infections were as a result of negligence and that only the investigation would determine how the workers contracted the virus
She said her department was awaiting results of other health-care workers as they had tested all staff at the hospital.