TWO more health workers in Port Moresby have tested positive for Covid-19, as the country’s biggest hospital in the city scales down services in an effort to contain the transmission.
Of the 19 confirmed cases so far in the country, 12 are from Port Moresby, three from Western, two from East New Britain, and one each from Morobe and Eastern Highlands.
The two cases reported yesterday were both health workers.
Case 18, a 53-year-old man, has a known respiratory illness and had a fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Case 19, a 39-year-old man, is a medical officer who was tested positive after complaining of a fever.
Acting Health secretary Dr Paison Dakulala yesterday expressed concern over the seven health workers recently tested positive for Covid-19.
Since last Thursday, five working in the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) located within the Port Moresby General Hospital had tested positive.
They have been isolated at the Rita Flynn Court medical facility.
“My concern is the most recent cases in the past five days have been of health care workers.
“(They) have a culture of seeking medical attention when they
experiencing illness,” Dakulala said.
“I cannot say that a large percentage of our population have the same habits.
“We have symptomatic people in our communities who are not staying home but being socially active. We need people to (come) for testing.”
Hospital chief executive officer Dr Paki Molumi said a breast cancer patient who died last Monday, July 13, was found to have the Covid-19.
Molumi said because of her death, and the isolation of the five health workers working in the laboratory (CPHL) after testing positive, there was a need to “heighten the hospital’s infection control measures”.
“We need to scale down services, (and) we are going to emergency mode as of today (yesterday) so that we could clean up the entire hospital,” he said.
Molumi said the scale-down exercise would include elective surgeries, general non-emergency outpatient and dental services.
Services such as children’s outpatient, obstetrics and gynecology would continue normally.
He said 500 to 600 patients turned up at the hospital for these services daily.
Hospital director medical service Dr Kone Sabi said: “We are scaling down activities in the laboratory so it makes sense that we also need to scale down other activities (clinical services) because all of our clinical services are based on laboratory and image services.”
He advised residents of Port Moresby to “stay away from the hospital unless you really need to come because we are a cluster at the moment”.
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