CITY OF CAPE TOWN | 7 MAY 2020
STATEMENT BY MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR COMMUNITY SERVICES AND HEALTH, COUNCILLOR ZAHID BADROODIEN
The City of Cape Town notes the ongoing reports about incidents of COVID-19 at government health facilities and the impact on services, as well as allegations of poor infection control measure at some of facilities.
At a time when we require collective effort to limit the spread of the virus, our focus is being diluted by the perpetual misinformation that is driving fear and sowing division.
I would like to state clearly that our clinics are following national COVID-19 protocols when dealing with positive cases among staff members.
In the event that a staff member tests positive, there are specific guidelines for testing of health care workers who are close contacts of that person. This includes isolation for a set period of time, as well as a strict testing regimen. Staff who are close contacts are only permitted back at work once these test results are negative.
In terms of deep cleansing of facilities – this is done based on the findings of a risk assessment done in association with the City’s Occupational Health and Safety Service.
A facility can be deep cleansed and reopened to the public, generally within 48 hours.
When a facility is closed, clients are referred to the nearest alternative clinic.
In cases where all staff are considered close contacts of the infected individual, we redirect staff from other facilities to provide services once the affected clinic has been decontaminated and operations can resume.
To date, the following City Health facilities were temporarily closed for decontamination following instances where staff members tested positive for COVID-19: Hazendal Clinic, Hout Bay Clinic, Masiphumelele Clinic, Ocean View Clinic, Dr. Ivan Toms Clinic in Mfuleni, Albow Gardens Clinic in Milnerton, Langa Clinic, Gugulethu Clinic and the Nyanga Environmental Health Office.
City Health is part of a multi-agency, national response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It serves no purpose to allow staff who could possibly pose an infection risk to remain at work, as this contradicts our mandate, which is to limit the spread of the virus.
We would therefore like to reassure staff as well as the public that the management of identified cases is treated with the urgency and due consideration for the health and safety of all concerned.
The acquisition of Personal Protective Equipment is a challenge worldwide, but the City has secured sufficient stock to provide staff with masks, gloves and gowns so that they can execute their duties.
It must also be noted that infections can occur anywhere, and are not limited to the clinic environment.
We are told that the worst is still to come for South Africa in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore crucial that we remain calm and remind ourselves of the common goal – to defeat this virus and save lives.
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town