Two DUT staff members test positive for Covid-19

Two DUT staffers have tested positive for Covid-19.
Two DUT staffers have tested positive for Covid-19.
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  • Two staff members at the Durban University of Technology tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Both staff, from the mechanical engineering department, are in isolation.
  • The university has called for calm from staff and students.

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) is the latest tertiary institution in KwaZulu-Natal to confirm Covid-19 infections, with two staff members testing positive.

"Last Friday, one of DUT staff members in the Mechanical Engineering Department on the Steve Biko campus in Durban tested positive for Covid-19. Since then, the university has followed the relevant protocols in terms of sanitising the affected areas and contact tracing, as per the public health requirements," university spokesperson Alan Khan said on Monday.

He said that, on Sunday, they received information about the second staff member.

READ MORE | UKZN staff member and student test positive for Covid-19

"We received confirmation that a second staff member from the Mechanical Engineering Department had tested positive. Our colleagues had asymptomatic symptoms of Covid-19."

Khan added: "This means that the staff member was exposed to the virus but had already developed antibodies for it. The staff member does not currently have the virus but, following medical advice, will be in isolation for the next week."

Investigation

He said an initial investigation indicated that the first staff member was on duty for just two days, on 17 and 18 June.

"The staff member has not been on campus since then and is in isolation following the positive test result."

He said DUT had taken "corrective measures" including:

- Requesting confirmation of the positive test results; and 

- Tracing of all of the close contacts (staff and students) of the patient in the department, to place them in self-quarantine and to advise affected colleagues to work remotely.

READ | Covid-19: Another hard lockdown is possible, warns Mkhize

"For those who may be symptomatic, we strongly recommend that they go for testing as soon as possible," he said.

He said they also disinfected affected areas that the staff member had used.

A call for calm

Khan urged students and staff to remain calm.

"Those who were in contact with the staff member who tested positive for Covid-19 will be approached and informed about the situation."

He also urged staff and students to always wear a face mask, observe physical distancing guidelines, avoid public gatherings, wash their hands with water and soap regularly and use a minimum of 70% alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

"It is compulsory for all staff, students and visitors to be screened before entering the university property. We remind all students and staff that we have a combined responsibility to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to have a safe and healthy campus community."

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