COVID-19: Startling claims about Eastern Cape hospital

Nurses at St Mary's hospital in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, claim COVID-19 positive AND negative patients are sharing the same ward. In an exclusive interview, four nurses at the facility describe their fear for themselves, saying they were exposed when the first patient tested positive due to a lack of protective gear. The hospital denies the claims. eNCA's Aviwe Mtila brings you this story. Courtesy #DStv403

MTHATHA - Nurses at St Mary's hospital in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape claim COVID-19 positive and negative patients are sharing the same ward.

In an exclusive interview, four nurses at the facility describe their fear for themselves, saying they were exposed when the first patient tested positive due to a lack of protective gear.

The nurses at the hospital are afraid that management is prioritising business over their lives.

READ: PPE shortages put Eastern Cape health workers at risk: Denosa​​​​​​​

They say more than a dozen of their colleagues have tested positive for COVID-19 -- and one person has died -- but the hospital is not willing to test the rest of the staff.

During the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa, the nurses claim they were forced to go to work without protective gear.

The nurses say they also had direct contact with the first COVID-19 positive patient at the hospital.

READ: South Africa's COVID-19 deaths surpass 700

Despite this, the nurses say they weren't tested.

One startling claim is that COVID-19 patients and those with other ailments are being mixed in a single ward.

Out of the four nurses eNCA spoke to, only one has been tested for the virus.

READ: EC premier in quarantine as health department reassures workers

In an emailed response, St Mary’s Hospital denies these allegations.

It says it has reported all positive COVID-19 cases to the Health Department and says it's following the National Institute of Communicable Diseases' guidelines for testing staff.

It also says it has a designated ward for COVID-19 patients, while those patients under investigation are cared for in isolation until their test results come back.

- Coronavirus Hotline Number: 0800 029 999 from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday

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The NICD has another Clinician Hotline to improve #COVID19 communication and support for healthcare providers. The Clinician Hotline is 0800 11 1131, operating 24 hrs. The Public Hotline is 0800 029 999 also operating 24hrs.

Source
eNCA