Eighteen health workers in the same ward at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) have tested positive for Covid-19 after a man admitted as a patient earlier tested positive.
Affected staff members were placed in self-isolation at home after a man admitted to the hospital tested positive for Covid-19.
The exact number of health workers who came into contact with him was not immediately availed, but results of 18 of them came positive.
Recently, 68 health workers at the hospital were forced to self-isolate at home after a 79-year-old woman who tested positive died at the referral facility, but their status could not be established immediately.
Last month, 14 nurses at Mpilo Central Hospital who were part of 197 isolating at home tested positive for Covid-19 after coming into contact with patients who were infected with Covid-19.
Acting UBH chief executive, Dr Narcissus Dzvanga yesterday said the hospital has activated its infection control prevention unit after the latest Covid-19 confirmed cases.
“At the moment the figures that have been sent to me is that 18 have tested positive for Covid-19.
“We are still categorising them although some are student nurses, general practitioners and nurse aids,” said Dr Dzvanga.
He said the health workers tested positive while they were self-isolating at home.
Dr Dzvanga said they contracted the virus after coming into contact with a patient who had come to the hospital for treatment after he was paralysed after being injured.
“We have a screening process that is done at the entrance of the hospital. So, if you got any features or temperatures are within Covid-19 classification, you don’t even go beyond the screening point. But this case had different circumstances altogether. The index case is a young man who got injured while trying to carry a 50kg bag of maize and got paralysed.
“There was no direct finding of Covid-19 at presentation, but when we started to test the patient routinely that is when it was picked up. The staff that you are talking about are from the same ward where he was admitted. It’s not like he was moving up and down the hospital,” said Dr Dzvanga.
A source said there was a likelihood that a health worker unknowingly infected the patient with the virus.
“This patient has been at the hospital for almost two months and I doubt if he could not have been picked up to have had the virus all that long.
“This could be a case of an asymptomatic health worker who didn’t know that they had the virus attending to him and infecting him with Covid-19,” said the source.