BY SILAS NKALA
OVER 40 staffers at the opportunistic infection (OI) clinic at Mpilo Central Hospital have reportedly tested positive to COVID-19.
“COVID-19 cases among staff are out of control,” said one of the staffers who requested anonymity.
“More than 75% of staff members at Mpilo tested positive for COVID-19. There is no support at all from the government or the hospital for all staff members.
“Staff members who test positive are required to return to work after 10 days of self-isolation without another test being done to check if they are negative.”
“Workers are being encouraged to test, results are taking forever to come out, and mine came after nine days. During that whole time, I was told to go to work as long as I don’t show symptoms.”
Mpilo OI clinic deals with HIV and Aids-related patients.
“More than 40 people tested positive, that is about 80% of the staff complement there. In the OI pharmacy, everyone tested positive,” the source said.
Contacted for comment, Mpilo Central Hospital acting clinical director Xolani Ndlovu, however, said over 30 staff members from OI tested positive.
“According to my current count, the number at OI clinic diagnosed with COVID-19 is just over 30,” Ndlovu said.
“I will have to get a full update from IPC on the actual number… According to the current de-isolation criteria published by the WHO (World Health Organisation) and adopted by the Ministry of Health, a person does not require a repeat COVID-19 test after the 10 days of isolation,” Ndlovu said.
“We do not have the resources to test people as a determinant for de-isolation. The delay in the production of results is beyond our control. If a person has been on quarantine for over 10 days and remain asymptomatic, using the new de-isolation guidelines, that person can return to work even if they have not received their results.”
The developments come at a time Bulawayo province has the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the country which are more than a quarter of the national average.
Health ministry statistics show that Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 84, while a total of 4 339 people had been infected as of yesterday.
Of the 84 deaths, Harare has the highest number with 39, followed by Bulawayo with 23 and Manicaland which has recorded six deaths.
Of the total 1 073 cases reported in Bulawayo, 1 024 are local transmissions.