ER shut after infection
The readiness of Hermanus Hospital to treat patients testing positive for Covid-19 was questioned by some after it closed its Emergency Centre for sanitation on Saturday.
Roche Butler, spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Health in the Overberg District, however, says the hospital is prepared and was following protocol by closing the Emergency Centre after a staff member working in the Emergency Centre of Hermanus Hospital tested positive for Covid-19.
“Following a Covid-19 confirmation at a facility, the affected unit is cleaned and sanitised according to protocol. This can entail the unit or facility closing, depending on the affected area. Following protocol, the Emergency Centre at Hermanus Hospital closed for 24 hours for decontamination. To ensure continued service delivery, the emergency services for walk-in patients were moved to the Out Patients Department (OPD) and those travelling via EMS were taken to Caledon Hospital. All close contacts have been placed in quarantine for 14 days,” says Butler.
“Hermanus Hospital is prepared for patients testing positive for Covid-19 and currently has a 15-bed Covid-19 ward and isolation units able to accommodate Covid-19 Patients.” Butler confirms that the Emergency Centre at Hermanus Hospital reopened on 17 May and the entire hospital is fully operational.
The Hermanus Police station was also closed on Saturday for sanitation after a police officer stationed at Hermanus tested positive for Covid-19. This is the second incident of a police officer stationed at Hermanus testing positive for the virus and the station being closed for sanitation (‘Policeman tests positive’, 16 April 2020).
Brig Donovan Heilbron, cluster commander of the Overberg, explained the station was opened the next day (Sunday) and the community service centre had to be moved to the front of the building to be able to still assist community members.
“The member who tested positive is currently in selfisolation at home. Several members underwent testing as a precautionary measure and the station was sanitised by disaster management,” stated Brig Heilbron.
By Tuesday 19 May, the Overberg recorded 58 confirmed infections with 25 recoveries. Overstrand make up the majority of cases with a total of 24, Theewaterskloof jumped to 21 cases on Tuesday, Swellendam recorded 11 cases and Cape Agulhas remained at two confirmed cases.
The Overberg also recorded it’s first coronavirus death in the Swellendam municipality. “The deceased is a 62-year-old male patient who tested positive for the coronavirus,” says Butler. “He also had an underlying medical condition. Our deepest condolences go out to his family during this time.”
Coronavirus hot spots are being identified across the Overberg region. Police blocked a road to the small community of Genadendal on Sunday and applied access control after a spaza shop owner tested positive for the coronavirus. According to Brig Heilbron the barrier was put in place to prevent cars with Cape-Town licence plates from entering the town. Heilbron confirmed that four spaza-shops have been closed. Heilbron and Human
Rights Commissioner, Chris Nissen, visited Genadendal on Monday to quell residents’ concerns about the effects of the coronavirus.
In Grabouw, residents took to social media to express concern about the first positive coronavirus case at the apple farm, Two-a-Day. The factory outside Grabouw was closed for decontamination over the weekend.
Dimitri Jacobs, a human resources director at Two-aDay, said they received confirmation of a positive coronavirus case on Sunday evening. “We immediately notified the Department of Health, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and the Department of Labour. People who have had close contact with the person who have been tested positive have been identified and the Department of Health will contact them.”