Minister of Health, Dr Zwelini Mkhize released a statement on Saturday [March 28] stipulating a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases in healthcare workers in both public and private hospitals.
The number of confirmed cases in South Africa has risen to 1 187.
“We have noted with concern a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases of health workers who work both in the private and public hospitals. This includes doctor and nurses. We mention this because health workers are in the frontline of this battle. They are exposed not only to their families but to the patients who they are meant to treat,” said Minister Mkhize.
The Western Cape has not yet confirmed that a healthcare worker has contracted COVID-19 but Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Free State and Gauteng have.
Some of the confirmed COVID-19 cases involving healthcare workers are:
– In Limpopo, one medical doctor tested positive after he had travelled abroad for holiday and started experiencing symptoms on his return. He immediately decided to quarantine himself. This young doctor remained in quarantine to ensure that he does not transmit the virus to other people. His 14 day quarantine period has ended and his results have now been confirmed negative.
– In Mpumalanga, one medical doctor who had also travelled for a holiday abroad returned to the Province with symptoms which emerged a few days after he returned. Before then, he had been having interactions with staff and patients. He then tested positive and was quarantined. This led to other health workers who had come into contact with him to be screened, quarantined and tested. A decision was also made for that section of the hospital to be closed in order to disinfect it. This has been completed and it will be reopening during the course of next week.
– In Free State, there has been a report that three doctors, one nurse and one neurophysicist have tested positive for COVID-19.
– In Gauteng, six medical doctors have been infected.
Minister Mkhize explained that these health workers are all in good medical condition, with most of them having mild or no symptoms. Only one doctor in the Free State, aged 70, is in ICU.
“It must be emphasised that none of these health workers were infected by patients that they were treating. They came into contact with their family members, friends and other colleagues who had tested positive for COVID-19. All individuals who were identified as contacts of these health workers have been put in quarantine and are being monitored.”