Another Tygerberg Hospital staff member has fallen victim to COVID-19 and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) is appealing to the Western Cape Health Department for help.

According to IOL, Nehawu said the union was informed of a porter’s death last week after he had been infected with the virus two weeks prior.

“He was on duty two weeks ago and he fell sick at work. He tested positive for COVID-19. He was admitted to the Mitchells Plain hospital and did not return to work,” Emilia Moloi, provincial secretary Nehawu told IOL.

This comes just a week after serious allegations were levelled against the hospital by National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw), saying that the hospital’s management is not properly protecting staff against the virus.

Those working at the hospital say that a shortage of personal protective equipment as well as the lack of screening of people who enter the facility are a big problem.

Laticia Pienaar, Principal Communications Officer from Tygerberg Hospital says, “There are several measures taken including daily screening, training and education about personal protective behaviour and PPE (Personal Protective equipment) use, the provision of adequate PPE, risk assessments of staff members, and where indicated, testing of staff at the hospital. There are several policies and standard operating procedures in place to guide safe practices for all staff at the hospital.”

Despite this, the facility’s popularity with various health worker unions is dipping as members continue to report poor safety and hygiene standards.

“It is understandable that staff are fearful and anxious. The hospital will therefore continue to implement measures to maximise protection of staff, whilst also asking staff to ensure their own safe behaviour in the workplace and at home. The hospital wishes to work in collaboration with organised labour (union representatives) to jointly ensure that staff are optimally protected in their work places,” adds Pienaar.

With the virus expected to reach its peak in the Western Cape only in July, many are fearing the situation for healthcare workers, especially those at Tygerberg, will only get worse.

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