Nurse's union want St Augustine's Hospital shut over virus fears

Nurse's union want St Augustine's Hospital shut over virus fears

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) says St Augustine's Hospital in Durban should be shut down after 66 people tested positive for the coronavirus there.

st augustine hospital

On Tuesday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said over 70% of those infected at the hospital were healthcare workers.

Mkhize said he was concerned about the developments at the facility.

DENOSA's Mandla Shabangu says the minister must act.

"We want the minister to protect the citizens of the country by closing that hospital so that everybody who has been affected or was in contact there gets tested until the results confirm that they are negative and the hospital and be fumigated and clean. Then they can start operating. 

"We cannot have this situation where they are closing parts of the hospital while those who are there are not protected." 

READ: Lack of masks for staff at St. Augustine's Hospital, union claims

Last week, the Netcare Group confirmed that three people who had been admitted to St Augustine's after contracting COVID-19 died.

The hospital's Emergency Department has been shut down.

Shabangu says workers who now continue to go to the hospital and patients within the hospital are at risk.

"The more you keep the hospital open it's going to be worse."

In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Netcare says of the over 1 900 healthcare workers, nurses, contractors and doctors working at the facility - more than half have been swabbed.

The group says about 500 of them have tested negative - while the results of 318 people are still outstanding.

It says it currently has 15 patients who came to the hospital to be treated for COVID-19.

Netcare says deep cleaning to decontaminate St Augustine's Hospital began last week Thursday and is continuing.

It says a clinical team is working closely with the office of the Health Minister and a team of epidemiology and infectious diseases specialists from UKZN, to investigate the underlying cause of the outbreak at the hospital.

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