Covid-19 spreads during Bulawayo funeral coffin

Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Health Reporter
A FUNERAL wake held at a nurse’s house saw her contracting Covid-19 while five colleagues at the Bulawayo City Council-run Pelandaba Clinic who were in contact with her also tested positive this week.

The nurse developed mild symptoms last week and was sent home for self-isolation before three more nurses, a nurse aide and a cleaner tested positive on Monday.

It appears the nurse was infected during the funeral wake and it’s not clear how many more people were infected.

The development comes amid concerns that more health workers who are in the frontline are becoming victims of the global pandemic which has killed 16 people in Bulawayo and 36 nationally. On Saturday, 32 more nurses from Mpilo Central Hospital tested positive to Covid-19 which brings the estimated number of infected health care workers in Bulawayo to 151 so far.

Confirming the incident, BCC senior council public relations officer Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said the clinic was disinfected on Monday.

“One registered general nurse midwife tested positive for Covid-19. She developed symptoms which were mild and was sent for isolation at home. Subsequent contact tracing resulted in three more general nurses; a nurse aide and a cleaner at the clinic testing positive for Covid-19,” said Mrs Mpofu.

“We received a report about the nurse’s relative who died and the funeral wake was held at her place of residence. We however suspect that someone who attended the funeral wake could have transmitted the disease leading to nurse’s result coming out positive.”

She said council has been conducting health education sessions and training for staff members to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “The citywide clinic staff members have been trained to triage patients, elicit epidemiological and clinical history as well as expedite movements into and out of the clinic. Efforts to improve infection control processes are also in place as well as national guidelines for use of personal protective equipment,” said Mrs Mpofu.

She said the clinic disinfection was completed yesterday and an assessment is being done to determine whether to close part or the whole clinic.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Mr Enock Dongo on Monday said it was worrying to note that nurses constitute the highest number of Covid-19 confirmed cases in Zimbabwe.

He said over 300 nurses have been infected countrywide while saving lives as frontliners.-@thamamoe

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