Bulawayo to take Covid-19 patients to Harare

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

BULAWAYO is set to refer Covid-19 patients to Harare’s Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital as the council run Thorngrove Hospital has no capacity to handle the cases.

This was revealed Saturday by Local Government Minister July Moyo while addressing journalists in the city.

Bulawayo is yet to confirm a single case of coronavirus although it has been testing for possible infections among individuals with symptoms of the dreaded disease.

Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital is currently undergoing an upgrade in preparation for a possible outbreak and surge in Covid-19 cases.

“If something had to happen tomorrow, unfortunately they (patients) would have to go Wilkins.

“I am saying if something had to happen. I’m not a medical (officer) but depending on the intensity, they would have to go to Wilkins,” Moyo said.

Thorngrove Isolation centre is in desperate need for rehabilitation and modification to meet the demands of a centre that could handle Covid-19 cases.

Health workers at the isolation centre are also at risk of contracting the disease as they do not have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The isolation centre is currently undergoing renovations and has the capacity to cater for up to 30 patients.

Minister Moyo also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Beautiful Bulawayo Trust to use Ekusileni Medical Centre as a Covid-19 isolation hospital.

Beautiful Bulawayo Trust is comprised of various stakeholders who are fundraising for the hospital.

Ekusileni Medical Centre was shut down in 2001 and several efforts have been made to revive the hospital to no avail.

Moyo also tasked the Trust to set up a testing centre.

Bulawayo also has no Covid-19 testing laboratory, with all samples being taken to the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory at Sally Mugabe Hospital in Harare.

“In terms of testing, there is equipment at the National University of Science and Technology and at Mpilo Hospital.

“The government is in the process of combining these so we can do the testing here locally,” said the minister.