Statement by KZN Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, following 5 positive COVID-19 tests at King Edward VIII Hospital (The hospital is following all necessary steps to contain virus, and take the right decision)

01 June 2020

We have been made aware that five staff members of King Edward VIII Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. We also note the unwarranted calls that have been attributed to staff, calling for the closure of the hospital.

We wish to reiterate, as we have previously stated, that we will not be embarking on the wholesale closure of every healthcare facility where staff test positive.

That approach is unsustainable.

Instead, we are guided by the extent of infections, based on a formal risk assessment study, in line with guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the clinical management of COVID-19.

At King Edward, hospital management is currently conducting the risk assessment study, which will consider, among other factors:

  • Where the infection took place;
  • When it happened;
  • Who was infected; and
  • Who their contacts were.

Our intervention going forward will be based on findings from that investigation.

The decision on whether to close the theatre, or any other part of the hospital, will be determined by the number of positive tests and extent of the building’s exposure to the virus.

We call upon the media and society at large to understand that hospitals are there to accept and treat patients with various kinds of ailments, including the COVID – 19 epidemic.

As Government, we have a paramount responsibility to provide all the equipment and gear that is necessary to prevent the transmission of the virus within the hospital setting; between patients and staff - and among staff themselves. Both staff and patients have their own responsibility to adhere to safety precautions.

We appeal to them to use their PPE correctly, and at all times. They must leave nothing to chance, because any person or area within a hospital setting is a potential carrier of COVID-19.

Issued on behalf of KZN Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu

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This page last edited on 01 June, 2020

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