DURBAN – Netcare has welcomed the findings of an investigation into St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, following 119 confirmed Covid-19 cases among staff and patients.
The investigation, instigated by the Department of Health and Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC), comes after 39 patients and 80 staff members at the hospital were infected, with 15 patients dying between 9 March and 30 April.
Netcare’s Regional Director, Craig Murphy commented, “All the recommendations and interventions made by the investigators have been fully implemented. In many cases, these interventions were already in place and have been further strengthened and enhanced as a result of the valuable recommendations made by the Report.”
The investigation was led by Dr Richard Lessells, Professor Yunus Moosa and Professor Tulio de Oliveira who are experts in infectious diseases, epidemiology and viral genomics.
According to their report, the outbreak within the hospital was likely started by a single introduction of the virus to the hospital in early March from a patient being assessed for Covid-19 in the emergency department.
“Overall, we estimate that the hospital outbreak and its spread to these other institutions accounted for about 14percent of the Covid-19 cases in KwaZulu‐Natal reported up until April 30. This highlights the risk that outbreaks like this become what we call ‘amplifiers’ of transmission, that is they fuel transmission in the wider community”, explained Prof de Oliveira.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) says it’s worrying that there are still no answers regarding what happened at these hospitals.
Spokesperson Mandla Shabangu said despite calls to the provincial government – they have yet to indicate the presence of a report into the facilities.
Recommendations to reduce the risk of similar outbreaks include:
- Hospitals need to establish separate zones (and separate entry points) for people who have confirmed Covid-19 (red zone), people who might have Covid‐19 (yellow zone), and people who are unlikely to have Covid‐19 (green zone)
- Limiting the non-essential movement of patients between and within wards and limiting the movement of staff between different wards
- Training on Covid‐19, especially on infection prevention & control, should be mandatory for all staff and implementation of IPC practices should be monitored closely.
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