JSE-listed hospital group Mediclinic on Wednesday closed new admissions at its Morningside Mediclinic facility in SA’s financial hub of Sandton after 15 staff tested positive for the coronavirus.
This was confirmed to Moneyweb in a statement released by Dr Stefan Smuts, chief clinical officer at Mediclinic Southern Africa. He also noted that the hospital is currently treating four Covid-19 patients.
Smuts said more than 100 potential contacts had been tested after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19. Most of the tests returned “negative results”.
The closure of all new admissions, barring medical emergencies, at Mediclinic’s landmark Morningside facility follows fellow JSE-listed medical giant, Netcare Group, closing new admissions late last month at its flagship St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban after an outbreak of Covid-19 among some 47 staff.
“Currently four patients and 15 staff members have tested positive, nine of which are healthcare workers [at Morningside Mediclinic],” said Smuts.
“The staff members in question are all currently in isolation and will remain so until they are fully recovered,” he said.
“As the safety of our patients, staff and doctors is our number one priority, Mediclinic has intensified both internal and external processes guiding our response. In accordance with our stringent protocols, Mediclinic immediately reviewed the situation to identify, as a matter of urgency, all staff, doctors and patients potentially exposed,” he added.
Smuts noted that the National Department of Health also has firm processes in place governing contact tracing of those exposed to a positive individual.
“Mediclinic acted swiftly in order to mitigate the risk to all involved and we can assure the community that we have established procedures relating to staff exposure, the risk thereof and testing. Testing has been expanded and will continue until everyone on site has been tested, including all patients, doctors, employees and service providers based at the hospital,” he said.
Smuts pointed out that Mediclinic had introduced stringent measures to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 at all its hospitals, including Mediclinic Morningside.
“Mediclinic Morningside is a centre of excellence with a proud reputation as a leading healthcare facility, known for its excellent service and respected by our profession in South Africa and abroad. Mediclinic prides itself on the high standards of care that are always provided and will be maintained at Mediclinic Morningside,” he stressed.
Mediclinic noted in its statement that the group strictly adheres to Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) protocols, as laid out by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) and World Health Organisation (WHO).
“As such, to ensure the safety of our patients, doctors and staff, we will continue with our containment plan which entails conducting a strict proactive three-day risk assessment at the hospital from today [Wednesday] until 17 April,” said Smuts.
“During this period of assessment, testing and deep sanitation, no new admissions apart from emergencies will be accepted at the facility to allow all necessary protocols to be followed. Mediclinic has implemented human resources policies and procedures to address healthcare worker exposure, testing and infection, including the appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in accordance with the NICD and WHO and recently published National Department of Health IPC guidelines,” he said.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s confirmed number of Covid-19 cases as at Tuesday, stood at 2 415. The number of coronavirus-linked deaths stood at 27, with 12 in KwaZulu-Natal, eight in the Western Cape, four in Gauteng and three in the Free State province.
More than 87 000 people have been tested across the country. Of the positive cases, Gauteng remains the epicentre with 909 cases, followed by the Western Cape with 643 and KwaZulu-Natal with 489.