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WC Health Dept: Strict protocols in place to protect health workers

The Western Cape Health Department said that there was currently enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and also added that they'd received small and big donations.

Gauteng healthcare workers screening Alexandra residents for coronavirus (COVID-19) on 31 March 2020 following the roll out of massive community screenings and testing programmes by the provincial executive council. Picture: Ahmed Kajee/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Health Department said that a stringent protection plan was in place to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19.

At St Augustine's Hospital in Durban there's been 66 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 48 were staff members.

Head of health in the Western Cape, Keith Cloete, said that there's been 11 documented COVID-19 positive health workers over the past four weeks, of which four are import-related.

Cloete said that only three cases happened at a health facility.

He said that there was a protection plan in place.

"We start off with very clear guidelines which is based on risk of exposure and we maximally protect the staff in the high-risk areas with protective gear - the appropriate mask, the appropriate gown and then the very, very strict protocols that goes with the disposal of that materials."

Cloete said that when there was significant staff infection and spread from worker to worker, anyone who was positive and those who have had close contact would be recommended to be quarantined.

"Somebody with symptoms will be tested to see if they have been exposed. Now we have luckily not landed up in that situation but I think when we do get into that situation, we will take it case by case. Our big focus at the moment is to prevent landing up with a situation like that."

Cloete said that there was currently enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and also added that they'd received small and big donations.

"We have a team of people that for the last four weeks having been placing orders, chasing up delivery, so where we're standing at the moment, we have sufficient PPE to protect our staff in the most vulnerable places. We obviously don't know what's going to unfold going forward, so we're constantly looking into upping our buffer as we go forward."

WATCH: 'We are the last defence' - COVID-19 from a doctor’s perspective

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