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Reports coming through to Kleva Nkeva from a reliable source have been confirmed by St Elizbeth Hospital Management. THERE IS A SUSPECTED CASE OF COVID-19 in Lusikisiki.

The patient, a pregnant female who is said to come from Durban, arrived at the OPD yesterday. She was assessed and found to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. Samples have been sent for testing (these tests are said to take up to 4 days), the decision was made to put her in isolation. The isolation ward in the female medical ward is out of order as the ablution facilities do not work. This informed the decision to keep her in the male medical ward according to the acting CEO.

The Acting CEO said they are aware of the case and are taking all necessary precautions. She invited me to go to the hospital to inspect their PPE and satisfy myself that their operation is on point, I am however in lockdown and will not be able to conduct the inspection. We would love to get pictures of our nurses in their PPE.

The same story sounds familiar, but different when told by a nurse who is on the ground working in the ward where the patient is being kept in isolation. The nurse noted that they were not prepared to receive COVID-19 cases and had no PPE. The patient arrived in OPD on the 31/03/2020 and there was no indication who she was in contact with. “The patient was rejected by the other wards and arrived at male medical at around 19h00. The patient has not bathed as we are afraid to help her without the necessary PPE.”

The nurse said that they had been threatened by management. “We were told that it was our duty to treat the patient, even though we complained about insufficient PPE.”

Similar stories were heard from nurses at St Barnabas hospital eNtlaza, where at some stage there were 200 N-95 masks for 214 nurses.

Acting CEO Mrs Mngweba, said it was common for people to be gripped by fear at times like this. She also responded to a question about the designated COVID-19 hospitals, “Bambisana hospital and Silimela hospital have been identified as the two hospitals that will keep COVID-19 patients. The Dept. of Public Works still needs to complete their part in getting these hospitals ready to take on COVID-19 cases.”

Nationally there are 1380 confirmed COVID -19 cases and there have been 5 deaths as at 18h50 on 01 April 2020. Lusikisiki is still a hive of activity with sign that we are indeed in a lock down.