Life Healthcare has confirmed that six Life Queenstown Private Hospital employees have tested positive for Covid-19.
Responding to questions sent by The Rep this week, Life Healthcare emergency medicine general manager Dr Charl van Loggerenberg said the patients were self-isolating and those who were unable to self-isolate at home were provided with alternative accommodation.
“Life Healthcare has a healthcare worker exposure protocol which is aligned to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases guidelines. The protocol dictates that any employee who is exposed to a known Covid-19 positive person, will be tested and quarantined. When staff are symptomatic, immediate testing is conducted. So far 45.6% of our frontline staff have been tested,” he said.
To prevent transmission to patients and healthcare workers, Van Loggerenberg said the hospital had implemented stringent measures. “These include the frequent washing of hands with soap and water, or alcohol hand rub, social distancing as far as is possible in patient care settings, cough and sneeze hygiene for patients and staff, universal masking to reduce the transmission from any of our healthcare workers, service providers and patients to other people, personal protective equipment and screening of all persons entering our facilities for symptoms suggestive of a Covid-19 infection.”
Van Loggerenberg said the institution was frequently consulting with the government, doctors and employees “to ensure processes and protocols remain relevant for the needs of our patients, employees and doctors.”
He indicated that employees and doctors were screened when entering the hospital building. “All employees and doctors are required to report potential exposure or symptoms to hospital management as a matter of urgency so that the necessary precautions can be implemented. Additionally, our healthcare workers’ policy on exposure to Covid-19 is in place to ensure the effective management and resourcing of our facilities for if or when healthcare workers become exposed to the virus. This also ensures that our facilities can continue to operate as well as possible with little or minimal disruption.”
National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union Matthew Goniwe regional secretary Mvuyisi Siko said the union had received a report and had met with the hospital management. “We demanded that the hospital provide an institutional plan in dealing with Covid-19 in a meeting on Monday. We demanded that the institution confirm the cases and enquired whether there was an occupational health and safety (OHS) committee. A second meeting was held on Wednesday and it was agreed that the OHS committee was not constituted in line with the OHS act. Therefore, it will be reconstituted to follow the letter of the law. The union will monitor the situation closely, report to members and receive a mandate on the way forward. We also requested there be psychological assistance at the workplace to deal with trauma and demystify any stigma,” said Siko.