Eastern Cape health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the provincial health department has had to halt operations at Ngangelizwe Clinic in Mthatha, Mthatha Gateway Clinic and Bhaziya Clinic. “And now there is talk of positive cases at Mthatha General Hospital.
“But we cannot close down a hospital, that will not be sustainable. What we will do is look at where the person who tested positive is stationed and then we will consider deep cleaning that section only, without closing the entire hospital,” said Kupelo.
He said workers downing tools was putting a lot pressure on the health system.
“Based on what we have seen, a number of private institutions are having to close to allow decontamination and deep cleaning after positive cases. We are following the same route as the department,” he said.
''We feel and understand the workers' anxiety and fear, and we are with them. We will provide all the staff with necessary PPE [personal protective equipment]. But in fact this was always there.”
Kupelo insisted that PPE was available to ensure the safety of health workers.
He said the department had tested more than 30,000 and screened more than a million people in the province.
“The officials who have been doing that work have not been infected and they are using the same PPE,” he added.
Last week a matron died at Bhisho Hospital, sparking further fear among medical personnel.
Kupelo said the matron had not been exposed to Covid-19 at the hospital.
“We traced her (matron's) contacts and found out that they were not inside the hospital. I am not trying to justify or suggest that our facilities are safe,” Kupelo said.
DispatchLIVE sent questions to the Life Hospital Group for comment. A spokesperson acknowledged receipt of the queries but said they would not be able to meet the Dispatch's deadline on Monday.