Six Gauteng healthcare workers test positive for COVID-19: MEC

Gauteng has the highest numbers with regards to infections, totalling 584.
Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku says six healthcare workers have tested positive for the coronavirus and are in self-isolation where they are being monitored.

Gauteng has the highest numbers with regards to infections, totalling 584. The overall number of infections country-wide now stands at 1280.

Two people have died. The Health Department has expressed concern over the rising number of infections among health officials. Masuku addressed the media in Johannesburg, on the interventions being taken during the 21-day lockdown period.

“We’ve got six healthcare workers who have been found to be positive with COVID-19 and with the help of occupational health specialists in the department and in different facilities, we are tracing them and looking forward in making sure that they are well. And their contacts are also being traced and these six healthcare workers do not have any serious symptoms, they are in isolation now and we are looking at their situation on a daily basis.”

Meanwhile, Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the provincial government has trained over 4 000 community healthcare workers to help with tracing efforts.

Addressing the media in Johannesburg, Makhura says there are challenges but his government is doing everything in its power to avoid the spread of the virus. He says tracing those who have come into contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has been a priority for his administration.

“Contact tracing is a very important area of our work and we have improved a lot in that regard. We have been worried about the number of contacts that were not traceable. We have increased significantly in tracking down those contacts and this is because of the work of our tracers. We have trained now over 4 000 community healthcare workers who are a very important part of the tracing teams that have been deployed on the ground.”

Makhura says his administration is working on its biggest challenge; mechanisms to minimise the long queues at grocery shops across the province, including spaza shops as the lockdown continues. He says social distancing becomes difficult with the vast number of people turning up to buy food after being paid.

“We started on the first day with some significant difficulties, especially when it comes to the numbers that turn up at shopping centres with people queuing to buy food. We have managed that matter in a particular way. The Executive Council in Gauteng was out throughout the province yesterday (Saturday) to help manage and minimise the risk because the shops are open for selling food and it was month-end; an extraordinary number of people turned up at the shops to buy food.