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15 FRONTLINERS IN ISOLATION RECALLED, 3 POSITIVE

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MANZINI - Nurses are unhappy following the recalling of 15 healthcare workers who were in self-isolation to work while they were awaiting their COVID-19 test results.


According to an impeccable source, the healthcare workers in question are based at Mbabane Government Hospital.
While at work, their results came back on Saturday and at least three of them were told that they had tested positive for COVID-19.


By then, they had already worked for three days.
The insider said a patient, who was suspected to have contracted COVID-19, was attended to at the hospital and later on the test results reflected that he had been infected with the virus.


Thereafter, the source said the about 15 healthcare workers, who were exposed to the patient, were sent to self-isolate for 14 days. He said the workers included doctors, nurses, orderlies and cleaners, among others.
He said they were all tested soon after they were sent to self-isolation and their results came back negative.


Self-isolation


He said the workers remained in self-isolation and between the 10th and 12th day, second tests were conducted, but when the 14 days of self-isolation elapsed last Wednesday, the test results had not been released.


The insider alleged that due to shortage of staff at the health facility, the workers in question were allegedly recalled to work last Thursday and this was despite that they were still awaiting their second test results.


He said on Saturday afternoon, results of three of the healthcare workers were issued and they showed that they had been infected with the virus.


Thereafter, the source said the other workers, who were still awaiting their results, were told not to report for work until they had received their results.


The Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) President, Bheki Mamba, said the union was aware of the matter.
He said according to their analysis, there was negligence on the part of the Ministry of Health, which handled issues of COVID-19. He said the hospital should not have recalled the workers without getting an approval from the ministry.


The president further said they wondered why the ministry did not indicate that the three patients were healthcare workers because it used to announce such.


“We wonder if the ministry was somehow trying to conceal evidence,” Mamba said.
He said the major concern was that when these workers returned to work, they were in contact with their colleagues, patients and members of the public.


Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Senator Lizzie Nkosi, said she was not aware of the issue. She added that healthcare workers would know that if one was in self-isolation for 14 days and had not developed symptoms, then that individual was unlikely to have COVID-19.

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