At least 100 patients may have been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus case, a health worker at the ARV clinic at Swakopmund said.

The clinic was closed on Monday after the health worker was confirmed Covid-19 positive, resulting in the 11 other staff members being quarantined.

A nurse, who declined to be identified, informed The Namibian on Monday that the other staff, which includes five nurses, four health assistants and two cleaners, were also tested.

Most of the staff are quarantined at the Swakopmund bungalows, while some, who do not live alone, are self-quarantined at their homes.

According to the nurse, the 60-year-old health worker lives at Walvis Bay, and commutes to and from Swakopmund for work every day.

This has raised concern among the staff, as Walvis Bay is the epicentre of Namibia’s Covid-19 outbreak, and there were calls that patients from Walvis be treated separately from those coming from Swakopmund. This, however, did not include the health worker from the harbour town.

Over the past two weeks, she started displaying symptoms of Covid-19, which included coughing. She said she also felt sick, and she was immediately referred to a private doctor.

“The problem is during these two weeks she was working with patients and the staff. She is a people’s person, so she was always busy helping,” the nurse said. “She must have been in contact with at least 100 patients who are vulnerable and needed ARVs.”

Last weekend, the health worker tested positive for Covid-19.

“Now the clinic is closed, and they first have to disinfect and find other staff while the rest of us are awaiting our test results. I cannot understand why they keep quiet about this,” the nurse said.

“We health workers understand if our health is at risk because of patients; but patients’ health should not be put at risk because of us.”

Erongo health director Anna Jonas and the region’s chief medical officer Dr Amir Shaker could not be reached for comment.

Governor Neville Andre, who also leads the region’s Covid-19 emergency response mechanism, confirmed the facility was closed for disinfection and that contact tracing had started.

“We are getting challenges with people in the community who are being contacted to go into quarantine but they are not cooperating. This is risky and it might trigger community infections.

“We need to help one another and get tested so that we minimise community infections before they spread rapidly,” Andre said on Tuesday.



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