The General Gizenga Memorial Hospital (formally known as Stanger Hospital) had been quarantined after 16 staff and patients tested positive for Covid-19.
Health department MEC Nomagugu Simelane Zulu said on Monday evening that the hospital would not take any more patients until the crisis had been contained, reports North Coast Courier.
The 16 positive Covid-19 cases include nine mothers, two babies, four doctors and one nurse.
Zulu said the department was concerned that the virus was able to spread so quickly in spite of the hospital’s infection prevention and control (IPC) measures, as well as the requisite Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that has been made available to staff.
“The first known Covid-19 case involves a medical consultant from the hospital’s paediatric department, who fell ill on April 26, and received her positive test results on April 29.
“We have instituted an urgent investigation by our Communicable Diseases Control and IPC experts which will seek to establish, among others, where the virus came from, and how it was able to spread at such a rapid rate within the hospital.”
She said all of the hospital’s laboratory-confirmed cases have been isolated, and all protocols for contact mapping, tracing, testing, quarantine and isolation have been followed, in compliance with guidelines from the World Health Organisation.
“The hospital, with 219 patients, has effectively been turned into a quarantine site. All staff and patients in the surgical ward and ICU have been tested.
“The remaining staff and patients will be tested this evening (Monday) and Tuesday. This interim plan will be reassessed in the next 24 hours.”
Going forward, low-risk patients will be diverted by emergency medical services to other district hospitals.
Those needing a higher level of care in medicine and surgery will be diverted to King Edward VIII Hospital.
Zulu said obstetrics and gynaecological cases requiring care at regional level would be diverted to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, King Edward VIII and RK Khan hospitals.
Chronic patients will be assessed at the gate; get issued with three months’ medical supplies; and be referred to Central Chronic Medicine Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) sites.
The MEC said an outbreak response team from the province was engaging with hospital management, organised labour, and other relevant stakeholders on best practice to ensure the safety of staff and patients.
“We urge all hospital staff and the community of KwaDukuza at large to remain calm at this time, while the department continues to work flat-out to minimise the public inconvenience brought about by the current challenges. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”