Health workers at the Uitenhage Provincial hospital in the Eastern Cape have downed tools, demanding to be tested for COVID-19 after one of the members at the health facility tested positive for the virus.

They have criticised hospital management for allowing them to continue working after the reported case. National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union regional secretary Busiswe Stokwe says the safety of staff members is being compromised.

“They are raising an issue that they were sharing the same bathroom, kitchen and same ward with the positive worker. And they are worried more than anything is that the lady was even servicing or nursing patients and also that the ward that she was working at is a labour ward where people just gave birth so the children there and we are not hearing any plan from management on how they are going to address that thing.”

Health department district director in Nelson Mandela Bay Darlene De Vos says the department followed proper regulations to ensure safety in the workplace.

“The procedure followed is that the affected person, and in this case the person who is positive, have to give us a list of all her direct close contacts and that procedure has been followed. We have then as the department of health alerted the contacts listed by the staff member and at this stage they have been advised to stay at home.”

10 things to keep nurses safe during COVID-19

SABC News has outlined 10 recommendations for nurses to follow to keep safe during COVID-19 and while they are nursing COVID-19 infected patients.

The recommendations outlined are based on those of official sources, including the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

  1. Perform hand hygiene
  2. Clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant
  3. Adequate ventilation in rooms
  4. Change gloves when torn or heavily contaminated
  5. Wear fitted N95 respirator (medical mask)
  6. Use a face shield or medical mask and goggles
  7. Wash hands before putting on personal protective equipment (PPE)
  8. Remove PPE correctly
  9. Wash hands immediately after removing all PPE
  10. Proper patient placement

The infographic below outlines the different types of nurses: