Soiled linen slip-up in Add in­g­ton

No pro­tec­tive gear avail­able to staff

Sunday Tribune - - METRO - LETHU NXUMALO lethu.nxumalo@inl.co.za

SIX BAGS of soiled and pos­si­bly coro­n­avirus-con­tam­i­nated linen at Dur­ban’s Ad­ding­ton Hospi­tal be­came the sub­ject of con­cern when staff were al­legedly in­structed to han­dle the ma­te­rial with­out pro­tec­tive gear.

The linen was meant to be trans­ported to the hospi­tal’s laun­dro­mat, ac­cord­ing to in­struc­tions by the laun­dry man­ager on Thurs­day.

But when the man­ager in ques­tion was con­fronted by a shop ste­ward, who is a mem­ber of the Pub­lic Ser­vants As­so­ci­a­tion of SA (PSA), he changed his tune.

Staff mem­bers were then told to await in­struc­tion from head of­fice on how to han­dle the con­demned linen.

Ad­ding­ton Hospi­tal is one of the des­ig­nated treat­ment cen­tres in Kwazulu-na­tal along with Grey’s, Ng­welezana and Man­guzi hos­pi­tals. So far, Ad­ding­ton was the only lo­cal hospi­tal that had ad­mit­ted a Covid-19-in­fected pa­tient. The shop ste­ward re­sponded by de­mand­ing that the hospi­tal not place its mem­bers at risk and ques­tioned why the Depart­ment of Health’s stan­dard pro­to­cols fol­lowed.

“Un­til such time we are placed with the in­for­ma­tion, we will in­struct our mem­bers to stay clear from those bags con­tain­ing con­tam­i­nated linen,” the shop ste­ward said.

Mlungisi Ndlovu, PSA pro­vin­cial man­ager, said the “laid-back ap­proach” from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in its ef­forts to con­tain the spread of the deadly virus was wor­ry­ing.

In a let­ter to Premier Sihle Zikalala, Ndlovu re­quested pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship make the ef­fort to pro­tect union mem­bers, their fam­i­lies and so­ci­ety.

“We have noted with great con­cern that the Kwazulu-na­tal pro­vin­cial ad­min­is­tra­tion, like their na­tional coun­ter­parts, is tak­ing a laid-back ap­proach to con­tain­ing the likely spread of the Covid-19.

“It is there­fore our view that des­per­ate sit­u­a­tions ne­ces­si­tate dras­tic proac­tive ac­tion to avoid calamity.

“It is from this per­spec­tive that, as the PSA, we urge the premier and the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee to take the lead in re­spond­ing to what could po­ten­tially be­come a na­tional cri­sis,” he said.

Ndlovu were sug­gested not that be­ing

Zikalala con­sider im­prov­ing in­fra­struc­ture, hy­giene, pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures and pro­tec­tive gear for staff and also im­ple­ment pub­lic aware­ness cam­paigns in the fight against the coro­n­avirus.

He also called for travel bans and the preven­tion of in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors par­tic­i­pat­ing in lo­cal events.

“Our trade union is com­mit­ted to work­ing closely with the Of­fice of the Premier, MECS and oth­ers.”

Len­nox Mabaso, spokesper­son at the premier’s of­fice, said it was yet to re­ceive the PSA’S let­ter and would re­spond with ur­gency.

Mabaso said the premier held a meet­ing on Wed­nes­day with all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers to as­sess the pro­vin­cial state of pre­pared­ness. He said among those present were lead­ers in the med­i­cal field as well as NPOS.

“We can as­sure you that there is a lot of work be­ing done by the premier to mit­i­gate the ef­fects of the virus in the prov­ince. With the few cases that have been de­tected, the gov­ern­ment has been proac­tive in ed­u­cat­ing, rais­ing aware­ness and con­duct­ing screen­ings,” he said.

“This virus is man­age­able if de­tected early and our pri­mary ob­jec­tive was to min­imise the risk.”

Mabaso warned res­i­dents fake news do­ing the rounds.

He said Kwazulu-na­tal Health MEC No­magugu Sime­lane-zulu, would be em­bark­ing on cam­paigns, as the Easter hol­i­days neared, speak­ing to re­li­gious lead­ers about virus-re­lated is­sues.

Mean­while, a pa­tient is be­ing treated for the coro­n­avirus at Ton­gaat’s Medi­clinic Vic­to­ria. Ter­tia Kruger, about

Medi­clinic’s cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tion man­ager, con­firmed that a pa­tient had been ad­mit­ted with Covid-19.

“The pa­tient in ques­tion has been ac­com­mo­dated in an iso­la­tion unit, where nurs­ing staff are trained and equipped to man­age the pa­tient ac­cord­ing to the level of care the ill­ness re­quires.

“In strict ac­cor­dance with the Na­tional In­sti­tute for Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Diseases and Na­tional Depart­ment of Health pro­to­cols, Medi­clinic has im­ple­mented the nec­es­sary mea­sures to man­age any pa­tients test­ing pos­i­tive with the virus and to pre­vent any po­ten­tial trans­mis­sion in our fa­cil­i­ties,” said Kruger.

She urged the pub­lic to take the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions when trav­el­ling to af­fected ar­eas.

AD­DING­TON Hospi­tal is one of the des­ig­nated Covid-19 treat­ment cen­tres in Kwazulu-na­tal.

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