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South Africa

Covid-19: Durban clinic closed after ‘six nurses test positive’

Durban – Department of Health officials closed the Inanda C Community Health Centre on Thursday after nursing staff tested positive for Covid-19.

A source told the Daily News six nurses had tested positive.

The clinic will remain closed while it is fumigated and staff wait for screening results.

A notice on the clinic gate stated it would reopen on Monday.

Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) spokesperson Mandla Shabangu said that when Denosa was informed staff at the clinic had tested positive, it had asked management screen all staff.

He said testing had been done since Monday. So far, between 40 to 50 staff members had been tested. Shabangu said staff were unhappy with the delay in receiving their results.

“Only those that tested positive received their results. Others decided that if their results were not back, and if they continued to work, they would put others and themselves at risk. Management must explore options. Under mutual agreement, management agreed to close the clinic,” he said.

Staff had been sent home to self-quarantine until they received their results. Shabangu said some were given the option of isolating themselves at a lodge.

“We are of the view that the whole clinic was contaminated. We are not at liberty to declare the number of nurses that have tested positive. Only the National Institute for Communicable Diseases can do so,” he said.

The clinic treats expectant mothers, has a mental health service, and treats patients with tuberculosis and HIV/Aids, among other services.

Shabangu said the clinic had poor ventilation and was small, resulting in staff being unable to adhere to social distancing measures. The clinic was very busy and served people from a wide area.

A source, who did not want to be named, said the first test result came through on Monday. Since then, staff had been stressed.

Health Department spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa said decontamination of the clinic would be completed in four to five days.

“We have tested all employees for Covid-19 and await their results.

“Employees who test negative will be allowed to return to work after a period of quarantine. Those who test positive will not return to work until they test negative,” Maphisa said.

In the interim, the surrounding clinics had been instructed to admit patients attended to at C Community Health Centre.

“To mitigate the impact of this situation and ensure continued health-care service provision, we have roped in mobile clinics from KwaMashu and oThongathi to service members of the community,” she said.

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