125 staff and 64 patients got covid-19 at Sterkfontein Hospital
8 October 2020
The Sterkfontein mental hospital has suffered a high number of COVID-19 infections, with 125 staff and 64 patients infected by the end of August this year.
This is revealed by Acting Gauteng Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Mamabolo, one of the infected staff died, but other staff at the hospital say that there were two COVID-19 deaths.
COVID-19 infections at the hospital affected nearly one in five (17%) of the 720 staff and about 11% of the 560 patients. This is disturbingly high as this hospital only treats mental patients and has a lower risk than other hospitals that treat all other patients.
There was a protest by 25 staff members about inadequate infection control at the hospital on 19 May, and they were dismissed but reinstated recently after referring the matter to the Bargaining Council for arbitration.
Although Mamabolo claims that sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was supplied to the hospital, an investigation is needed as to why there was such a high infection rate.
It seems that the Gauteng Health Department neglected a mental health facility during this pandemic despite the lessons that should have been learned from the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health, 8 October 2020