Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital cancer radiation unit open again after Covid-19 deep cleaning

A nurse checks a Covid-19 patient's ventilator.
A nurse checks a Covid-19 patient's ventilator.
Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images
  • The unit is the largest cancer radiation unit in the country.
  • About 3 000 cancer patients are treated at the unit every year.
  • The unit was closed for deep cleaning after staff tested positive.

The cancer radiation unit at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg is operational again after being temporarily closed for deep cleaning when some staff tested positive for Covid-19.

The radiation oncology unit is the largest of its kind in the country and treats around 3 000 patients a year.

In April, six pharmacy staff at Charlotte Maxeke also tested positive for Covid-19.

This week, News24 was reliably informed that six staff members from the radiation oncology unit were booked off after testing positive and that the unit was not operational.

Not closed

However, Kwara Kekana, spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Health, said it was not true that the unit was closed.

"We can state that this is not true. Yes, some staff members have been put off sick, but the unit was closed for deep cleaning and services commenced after cleaning," said Kekana on Thursday.

READ | Covid-19: Gauteng's hospitals feeling the strain - but not yet full

It is not clear when the unit was closed or when it reopened as the department did not respond to this question.

The hospital's radiation oncology department has previously been plagued by long waiting lists, prompting an inspection by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in 2018 for this reason.

Also in 2018, Bhekisisa reported that the unit had a waiting list of 500 patients.

The Star reported in June that 14 medical staff and nine security guards had also tested positive for Covid-19 at Charlotte Maxeke.

The hospital was donated a new ICU ward in June, and is currently treating over 200 Covid-19 patients.

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