Following confirmation that nine mothers, two babies, four doctors and one nurse had tested positive for Covid-19, KwaZulu-Natal health officials have decided to close the doors of the General Justice Gizenga Mpanzi Memorial Hospital (formerly Stanger Hospital).
The KwaZulu-Natal health department said in a statement on Tuesday it’s believed that the first case resulted from a mother who was housed at the boarder mothers’ lodge at the hospital.
She reportedly did not disclose that her husband was one of the positive cases linked to a supermarket chain store in Ballito. Other mothers at the lodge soon tested positive.
“As a Department, we are extremely concerned by these developments, and have urgently exercised our Constitutional obligation to prevent a further outbreak of the virus,” the department said.
“What is of particular concern to us is the fact that these infections have taken place in spite of the hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, as well as the requisite Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that has been made available to staff.”
It said that an urgent investigation has been instituted by the province’s Communicable Diseases Control and IPC experts to establish how the virus was able to spread at such a rapid rate within the hospital.
All 16 affected people have been isolated.
“The hospital, with 219 patients, has effectively been turned into a quarantine site. All staff and patients in the surgical ward and ICU have been tested.
“The remaining staff and patients will be tested this evening and tomorrow,” the department said.
Low-risk patients are being diverted to district hospitals in the area, while serious cases are being sent to King Edward VIII Hospital.
The department said the interim plan will be reassessed in the next 24 hours.