Abim Hospital closed after 17 health workers test positive for COVID-19

17 health workers at Abim Hospital tested positive for COVID-19

Abim, Uganda | URN | Health services at Abim Hospital and Morulem Health Centre III in northern Uganda have been suspended for two weeks after 28 health workers from the two facilities tested positive to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

At least 17 health workers at the district hospital tested positive for the virus out of the 79 samples taken last week. Another 11 tested positive from Morulem Health Centre III. The 28 are all said to be contacts of a midwife attached to Morulem health centre who was admitted to Abim Hospital while in labour.

Abim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ismael Ochengel said they took a decision to close the hospital after consultations with the health technical team of the district. Ochengel said that the suspension of health services in the health units will last until October 5. However, emergency services will continue.

“Following confirmation of 28 new cases of COVID-19 in Abim, most of whom are health providers, the technical team in the health department, advised that services in Abim hospital and Morulem health centre III be suspended until October 5, 2020,” the letter reads.

This brings to three, the number of health facilities closed in Abim district due to COVID-19. Last month, Awach Health Centre II was closed on the directives of the district taskforce after a COVID-19 patient came in contact with the staff of the health unit. This means that Abim Hospital now remains with only three operational health centres serving a population of 17,400 people.

The Abim district chairperson Jimmy Ochero explains that the temporary closure of the health facilities was a preventive measure to contain the spread of the virus to more people.

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Abim Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Samuel Mpimbaza Hashaka said that he has notified the Ministry of Health to provide the population with alternative means of accessing health services during the 14-day period when services have been called off.

Meanwhile, there is panic among the community in Abim following confirmation of the new cases. The district chairman Jimmy Ochero expressed fear that there could be more community infections that remain undetected.

Uganda today confirmed 240 new coronavirus cases, rising the cumulative confirmed cases to 8,017. COVID-19 deaths stand at 75.