#Coronavirus: Bfn Pelonomi staff back at work

The nursing staff at Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein are back at their working stations following a brief demonstration in front of the hospital’s admissions on Wednesday morning 18 March 2020 in the Free State.

The brief demonstration by these casualty nurses follows after they voiced their concerns about them not being sufficiently trained and prepared to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.

OFM News reported that the Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, this morning confirmed that so far the virus has infected a total of 116 people in South Africa, with Gauteng leading the numbers with 61 cases. The Health Department spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, and the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, Baesi Ramodula, allayed their anxiety and assured them that training will be ongoing.

“We all need to follow the basic protocols of washing hands. We understand that this is a new health condition,” he adds. Mondli further says Pelonomi is triaging patients, and suspected patients who presented themselves claiming to be Coronavirus-infected have been attended to and proved to be having a common cold or influenza.

“It is expected of nurses to separate the patients who claim to be infected so that they don’t cause panic or potentially infect other patients,” he further adds.

Meanwhile, on Monday 16 March 2020, the provincial Health MEC Montseng Tsiu assured members of the public that the province is ready to handle any coronavirus case. Tsiu said the preparation for any eventuality has been put in place.

Also, Premier Sisi Ntombela and her Executive Council (Exco) on Monday paid a visit to Pelonomi Hospital’s isolation facility to gauge its readiness in case of an outbreak in the province. She emphasised and stressed the call by Mkhize for South Africans to regularly wash and sanitise their hands.

Her visit followed after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday issued a travel ban involving all foreign countries that were hit hard by the virus, including China, Italy and the United States of America (USA), among others. Ntombela further applauded the department for its efforts in ensuring health standards are met and those accessible facilities are in good condition, should there be a need. She also requested communities across the province to remember the rule of keeping the necessary safe distance. The province remains free of the virus at this stage.