IN PICS | Long queues at some Durban hospitals where many staff are booked off with Covid-19

Scores of patients, many of whom didn't observe social distancing, waited outside Durban’s Addington hospital on Monday.

There were about 200 people waiting for their monthly check-ups on the hot summer morning.

The reason for the long queue was explained on Sunday by provincial health MEC Nomagugu Simelane Zulu, who said that 38 staff members had tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of December at the hospital. They comprised five doctors, 11 nursing staff, an allied worker and 21 support staff members.

She said at RK Khan hospital in Chatsworth, 23 staff had Covid-19. They were seven nurses, 10 doctors, two radiologists, three clerks and a general orderly. She said the hospital remained open.

National health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, announced officially that the country was experiencing a second wave of the pandemic, with KwaZulu-Natal among the four provinces that are driving the spread of the virus, alongside Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Gauteng.

Simelane Zulu said: “It should be understood that health-care workers and other staff who work within the health environment form part of the ecosystem of broader society. By virtue of this, they will not be immune to epidemiological changes and other realities within society.”

Siva Naidoo, a chronic patient here for 12 over years, said he felt particularly sorry for the elderly patients who couldn't have anticipated the hot, morning sun. He had an umbrella and a face mask on while trying keep a fair distance between himself and the rest of the patients in the long queue.

The 61-year-old said the hospital could have done a lot better in dealing with the situation such as cancelling or rescheduling their appointments if their medical condition allowed.

“I have been collecting my treatment at this hospital since 2008. There is always a long queue at the gate but they (hospital) have always been able to manage that. I just feel that they could have at least given us phone calls or sent messages not to come because people are flowing in here now. And nobody is telling us what is happening,” Naidoo said.

At Chatsworth's RK Khan Hospital, there were no more than 15 people queuing outside the gate, most of whom were struggling to get past the security guards.

The scorching sun had sent many of them across the road to sit in the shade.

One of them was 46-year-old Zandile Nkwanyana from Dube Village. Nkwanyana had made the walk to the hospital to bring clothes to her newborn grandson and his mother.

Advance life support paramedic Garrith Jamieson said on Monday that paramedics in and around the Durban area were having “excessive difficulty” finding space for multiple patients who had fallen ill as a result of the second wave of the pandemic.

“There is minimal space at facilities to accommodate these patients and we have to liaise with the doctor as to what is the best treatment. Some of the facilities, both state and private, are in complete divert. I urge people to stay safe and at home.”

TimesLIVE


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