Over 42 nurses and 26 student nurses from the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) have been quarantined following the death of a 79-year-old woman who succumbed to Covid-19 last week.
The placement of the UBH nurses and students under quarantine follows the isolation of nearly 200 Mpilo Central Hospital nurses two weeks ago after they came into contact with a positive colleague and three patients.
14 of the Mpilo nurses tested positive for Covid-19.
On Monday, one Covid-19 death was recorded in Bulawayo and it was among the seven new positive cases recorded in the city, the only such cases recorded in the country on that day.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care said the latest Bulawayo death is of a 49-year-old man with a history of travel from South Africa.
His case was among four local transmissions as well as two returnees from South Africa and one from Botswana to make up the seven new Covid-19 cases.
The death of the man brought to three Covid-19 related deaths in Bulawayo.
The first death in the city was recorded in April while the second one was recorded last week at UBH resulting in nurses and student nurses from the health institution being quarantined.
Acting chief executive officer Dr Narcacius Dzvanga confirmed that over 42 nurses had been quarantined following the death of a patient at the institution.
“We continue to sanitise and check temperatures of everyone who comes into the hospital including health workers. So far more than 42 nurses and 26 student nurses have been quarantined and the figures are likely to increase,” said Dr Dzvanga.
He said the hospital continues to take precautionary measures to ensure that health workers are protected as they render services to patients.
In an interview yesterday, acting Bulawayo provincial medical director Dr Welcome Mlilo said all nurses at quarantine centres were asymptomatic. “Results of health care workers in self-quarantine are out and are being issued. These will be captured in the national update in the following days,” he said.
Dr Mlilo said the latest case of a man who died on Monday is one of the four local transmissions, with the deceased’s source of infection not known yet.
“The Covid-19 death is of one local transmission case that was diagnosed at a local hospital and so far, the source of infection remains unknown as investigations are underway. The other three local transmissions, the source of infection is known,” he said.
“Contact tracing starts immediately following a Covid-19 diagnosis being made. This was the case as well with this case. However, the positive result came out when client had already demised.”
Dr Mlilo encouraged Bulawayo residents to cooperate with Rapid Response Teams and to disclose vital information when health workers are conducting their work.
“The contact tracing process is going on well without any unique challenges. We encourage Bulawayo residents to be forthcoming with information and cooperate with Rapid Response Teams and all other frontline workers. It is our collective responsibility to stop the spread of Covid-19 in Bulawayo and the country at large,” said Dr Mlilo.
A UBH nurse who preferred anonymity said the Covid-19 death at the institution that had resulted in nurses being quarantined had shaken them.
“Our job gets riskier with each passing day and there is nothing much we can do as we know there are PPE and test kit shortages in the city,” she said.
A medical practitioner Dr Khayelitsha Dube recently said health workers were more at risk for Covid-19 due to the longer periods they spend with patients in their day to day duties.
“We are more at risk because of the concentration of sick people that we interact with in our duties. What makes it more dangerous is the fact that most people may have Covid-19 but they do not know as they have not yet tested,” said Dr Dube.-Chronicle