About 100 intellectually challenged patients and six staff members at Witrand Hospital in Potchefstroom, have tested positive for the coronavirus. This was announced at a press conference convened by the North West Health MEC earlier today. “Samples were then taken from 238 people made of 202 and 36 staff members. This was prompted by the nature of patients and inability to maintain social distancing and wearing of masks” Sambatha said.

Sambatha highlighted that PPE is available and that frontline workers are provided with face shields as an extra precaution measure. “The first case of the hospital was on the 10th June 2020 first case was confirmed (Index case). Following this first case, line listing of the index case commenced immediately and was followed up according to the guideline for symptom monitoring and management of essential workers for COVID-19 related infections. Among the contacts were some of the employees who then tested privately and results were communicated to management. Eight (8) of the employees that tested privately by 14th June 2020 tested positive and it created anxiety amongst staff” the MEC said.

The department has resolved to separate the patients who are tested positive from the patients who are tested negative, while the negative patients will be monitored for symptoms and tested if they become symptomatic. The MEC said an ethics committee will be formed under the Clinical Manager to make clinical decisions on the care of the patients who becomes symptomatic with the virus. “A 55-bed isolation ward will be prepared with supply of oxygen as a matter of urgency. For patients that need to be transferred to other facilities, treatment sites in Potchefstroom, Tshepong and Westvaal Hospitals will be utilised,” he said.

The MEC further concluded to say that daily update to families on progress will be restricted, to prevent spread of infection.