A total of 197 health workers at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo have been placed in self-quarantine after three patients and a nurse tested positive recently for Covid-19 at the hospital.
Two of the patients were positive after they had been admitted at the hospital, while the third person was an outpatient.
It is suspected that the nurse contracted Coronavirus due to interactions with one of the patients who had come to the referral hospital.
After the confirmed cases at Mpilo Central Hospital, Bulawayo’s rapid response team was contacted to contain the potential spread of the virus.
Through contact tracing, the team identified 197 health workers who were at high risk of contracting the disease, placing them on 14-day mandatory self-quarantine, while under surveillance.
The self-quarantine process started on June 28. The Mpilo Central Hospital staffers have undergone initial tests for Covid-19 and would be retested before being given the green light to resume normal duties.
The hospital was also fumigated and disinfected.
Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said out of more than 2,000 health workers at the facility, 197 were placed on self-quarantine.
He commended the health workers for their commitment.
“This resulted in 197 health workers going in self-isolation at their homes including the nurse who was asymptomatic. So far all of them have tested negative for the virus. They are in self-isolation for 14 days and are supposed to complete the process on Thursday. I guess we can say we were very lucky to have escaped this one,” said Dr Ngwenya.
He said the hospital had to improvise to cover for the health workers placed on self-quarantine.
Dr Ngwenya said it was critical for communities to adhere to lockdown and Covid-19 preventive measures as the hospital scare gives an impression of how the pandemic could impact on the health sector.
“If hospital staff get degraded and are unable to cope with the rising numbers, at the end of the day people will not have anyone to look after them. So, it’s extremely important that people follow lockdown regulations, wear masks properly otherwise failure to do so could cripple the health sector,” said Dr Ngwenya.
Acting Bulawayo provincial medical director Dr Welcome Mlilo, said Government would continue working to improve the safety of health care workers.
“It is back to the issue of personal protective equipment. Government is procuring the protective clothing, which is being availed to health workers including those as Mpilo. We also fumigated the hospital, while taking all precautionary measures to ensure that staff does not contract the virus. The rapid response team is following on those who need to be followed for contact tracing and they are put in isolation until they are cleared to come back,” said Dr Mlilo.