The stealthy and predatory nature of SARS-CoV2 was revealed when more than a dozen workers in the health care frontline of the Khomas Region tested positive for COVID-19 at the modern and sophisticated Lady Pohamba Private Hospital.
As per the health protocols, one entire ward was closed and the patients inside moved to other wards while large scale testing was performed to measure the extent of the unexpected COVID-19 blow that hit the top of line health care facility.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that a similar situation occurred in the MediClinic private hospital and that health care workers in state hospitals are equally exposed.
The Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe indicated that more than 60 healthcare workers have already tested positive which is putting the service delivery at vital health facilities under tremendous strain.
“All hospitals are critical in the battle against the pandemic and the country cannot allow health facilities to closed be closed for fumigation like other institutions or offices. Most hospitals have contingency plans to keep operations running smoothly in place,” he said.
According to Nangombe health care workers are identified and trained to work with COVID-19 patients. They are divided into teams and work shifts away from the rest of the hospital staff.
“In some cases, those teams stay in specially separated living quarters to avoid transmission of the virus to and from the communities,’ he said.
He said that if any transmission is detected, team members are replaced from other parts of the hospitals but it still has a paralysing effect on patients and medical personnel because those that replace team members have to be replaced further down the chain to sustain the battle against the increasing number of new infections.
“We have already activated contingency plans in this regard and have approached retired health care workers to come on board. The response was good and some are now filling in at general stations while the younger generation fights the COVID-19 battle,” he said.
Hannelie Botha, the general manager at the Lady Pohamba Private Hospital confirmed that a number of staff members tested positive.
She said the hospital activated its risk stratification protocols for the safety of the patients and the staff members working in the ward.
Botha said that the medical services provided by the hospital will not be affected by the incident.
In the meantime, the affected ward was fumigated and mass testing performed on all of all possible contacts of those that tested positive.