FS Health denies claims of rampant Covid-19 cases at Pelonomi

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The Free State Department of Health denies that all healthcare workers at Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital have tested positive for Covid-19 as well as claims of a worker’s strike at the facility.

This comes after Courant received a report that the hospital would only be conducting screenings due to the infection of staff.

“The testing centre at Pelonomi Hospital can only do screenings today due to all the healthcare staff testing positive for Covid-19. There is also protest action by healtcare workers today,” said a community member who did not want to be named.

“A pathologist in Bloemfontein have staff members who tested positive (senior manager included) but they are currently still at work,” he added.

However, provincial health spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, explained that only healthcare staff in the hospital’s maternity ward have tested positive for Covid-19 and were subsequently instructed to self-quarantine.

“This is not true, we are aware that there are some so-called health activist organizations that are going into our health facilities and instigating our health workers to claim ignorance of Covid-19 regulations and claim not to have been trained in Covid-19 management. We are also aware of some people trying to instigate a health workers strike at Pelonomi,” he said.

“The truth is that there are some health workers that tested positive at the maternity ward and they had to be sent home while they were awaiting their results,” added Mvambi.

The spokesperson explained that the department works with the National Health Laboratory Service for the testing of health workers. However, Mvambi stated that while private services such as pathologists are enlisted by the department, he would not clarify whether claims of positive cases at a service provider were true.

“The department tries from time to time to work with private pathologists to process specimens and blood samples. I may not be immediately aware what work are the said pathologists contracted to do,” he concluded.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele

nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za