Covid-19: DA calls for answers from DoH over Inanda public sector infection cluster

Issued by Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL – DA KZN Spokesperson on Health
18 May 2020 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is extremely concerned by an apparent public sector Covid-19 infection cluster within eThekwini’s Inanda area, with confirmed cases at both the local police station and the Inanda C Community Health Centre (CHC) within the last week.

According to reports, at least one police official and 10 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus. As a result, both the police station and the CHC have been closed.

Of particular concern to the DA is the lack of communication and delays in the quarantining of contacts and closing of facilities by KZN Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu and the Department of Health (DoH). This after receiving reports that despite healthcare staff testing positive, it took days for the Department to intervene, close the facility and fully quarantine contacts.

Our sources within the Inanda C CHC have also advised that some workers remained working at the clinic while awaiting their test results instead of being in self-isolation.

Despite the rising concern and panic from both workers at these facilities and surrounding communities regarding this infection cluster, the MEC and her Department have been absent in terms of communication and information. To date, they have not confirmed any of the cases in spite of the DA having contacted officials in this regard.

This lack of response is indicative that the Department’s immediate facility intervention plan is still lacking – an issue which may result in the increased spread of the virus.

The DA has today written to MEC Simalane-Zulu (view here) to call for a detailed facility cluster infection management plan. KZN has been the epicentre of infections among healthcare workers, with rising infections in both the private and public hospitals.

With more than 80% of KZN’s population reliant on public sector hospitals, this is our major concern. In addition, we have called for the urgent release of investigative reports into infections at St Augustine’s, Kingsway and Addington Hospitals.

These investigations were performed by University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) experts and may provide recommendations to reduce infections among healthcare workers, patients and communities.

Our healthcare workers are our heroes during this Coronavirus Health Crisis. Their protection can only be achieved through widespread access to the Department’s plans and reports.

Effective communication and access to information will ensure healthcare workers and communities are kept safe.