Covid-19 test results: Negative and positive patients mingle at clinic

27 August 2020 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK

People who have been tested for Covid-19 have been asked to collect their results from Windhoek’s Robert Mugabe Clinic where they mingle, unaware of each other’s Covid-19 status.

One patient who spoke on condition of anonymity told Namibian Sun that he was told there are not enough ambulances and he should use public transport to go and collect his results.

“They tell you that if you can talk or walk, take a cab to Robert Mugabe Clinic. This is apparently because of a lack of ambulances. After testing one is told to self-isolate at home. If you visit the Robert Mugabe Clinic you will see how people are taking taxis to return home,” he said.

Panic

A week ago, Namibian Sun witnessed how a person exited a taxi and mingled with the crowd waiting to be tested.

After a few minutes, pandemonium broke out when the patient asked those in the front of the queue to let him through to collect his “positive results”.

This prompted a group of people to leave the testing facility out of fear that they may become infected.

On more than one occasion, Namibian Sun found groups of people crowding at the gate waiting for health workers to publicly read out their results.

One woman said she was called early that day to go and collect her results but she was not given an indication whether it was positive or negative.

Not true

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula initially denied that people had been instructed to return to the clinic.

He later returned the call and confirmed that some patients had visited the centre to collect their results.

“I was informed that the employers are the one who are sending employees to collect their results. It is not part of our protocol,” he said.

According to Shangula, an internal investigation by the ministry found that the state facilities communicate their results telephonically.

“With counselling first, if the results are positive. Then a person is asked where he or she can be picked up to be taken to isolation. If a person tests negative, the employer demands a hard copy. That is why they go to collect a hard copy,” he said.

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