Health Minister Dr Zweli Mhize has expressed concern about the situation at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban where 66 people including 48 staff members have now tested positive for COVID-19.

The hospital closed its emergency ward last week and stopped the admission of new patients after three patients died of the virus at the facility.

Mkhize was speaking in Johannesburg this afternoon (Tuesday) where he received a donation of 200 000 surgical masks for health workers from the Motsepe Foundation.

He said the provincial health department is engaging with the hospital with the view of closing parts of the facility.

“We have also assigned specialists there. We must always be on the lookout. The infection can seep in from any institution. We must now trace all the contacts. It is a matter of serious concern and we are dealing with it,” the minister said.

The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department and Netcare’s management earlier agreed to close affected sections of the hospital. Mkhize said this was a precautionary measure to identify areas where there may have been infection control lapses. All these areas have been disinfected over the weekend.

Netcare has also been requested to provide a list of patients admitted to the hospitals since 1 March to trace and test all possible contacts.