TWO of Harare’s major hospitals have recorded Covid-19 cases among their staff as the country’s caseload rises sharply amid an increase in the number of deaths.
By Phyllis Mbanje
As of Friday, Zimbabwe had recorded 942 Covid-19 cases with 13 deaths following a surge in new infections and fatalities last week.
At the Sally Mugabe Central Hospital (formerly Harare Central Hospital) a nurse tested positive for Covid-19 and two cases were recorded at Parirenyatwa Hospital this past week, internal communication from the two institutions show.
According to an internal memo from the Sally Mugabe Central Hospital dated July 6, the nurse who tested positive could have exposed other colleagues to the virus as they used the same mode of transport.
“This memorandum serves to notify you that one of our staff members who is asymptomatic got a PCR test as part of ongoing hospital surveillance and the result was positive,” part of the memorandum reads.
The hospital has since urged all members of staff, who used transport plying the Budiriro route in the past three weeks to test for Covid-19.
“We continue to encourage staff to exercise physical social distancing, consistently use a face mask covering and practice hand hygiene according to laid-down protocols as a mitigatory measure,” the hospital said.
Parirenyatwa Hospital authorities said the two nurses tested positive after a shift.
“We would like to inform the public that two out of the 26 staff members, who had just completed one of their shifts in our Covid-19 centre tested positive,” the hospital said.
“The hospital has three teams working in the Covid-19 centre and this occurred in one of the teams.”
The teams had just completed their second weekly shift and underwent the routine testing on the eighth day in mandatory quarantine.
“Those who tested positive were transferred to a designated isolation facility where they are getting appropriate care,” the hospital said in a circular to workers.
“The rest of the team members remain in quarantine awaiting further testing on the 14th day.
“The hospital psychosocial support team has been engaged to work closely with the team.
“Investigations are underway to identify the source of the infection,” the hospital said.
Last week 18 health care workers at the United Bulawayo Hospitals tested positive for Covid-19.
Fungisai Dube, the Citizens Health Watch trustee, said their investigations had shown that the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis at public hospitals was lacking.
“Some Covid-19 screening centres at health institutions were unmanned and there was inconsistent Covid-19 screening at public hospitals,” Dube said.
Dube said they had received reports that health workers at public institutions were frightened and felt neglected as the government was not providing enough personal protective equipment.