Soiled linen slip-up in Add ington
No protective gear available to staff
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.