Elim mall's parking area is full motorists struggling finding space.
Businesspeople, customers, and the community living around the Elim business centre are living in fear after discovering that the Department of Health has failed to acknowledge publicly that one of Elim Hospital’s staff members had tested positive for Covid-19.
The person allegedly tested positive at the beginning of June.
"This is very frustrating. Elim is a very busy centre. The centre attracts people from a radius of more than 30 kilometres. Communities flock to the centre for shopping, seek treatment at the hospital, and others run businesses around the mall. The Department of Health should have alerted the public. We are not saying we want to know who tested positive; all we want is for this to be public knowledge,” said Salaza Khosa, chairperson of the Waterval Community Forum.
An Elim staff member who wants to stay anonymous told Limpopo Mirror that a fellow hospital staff member tested positive for Covid-19. The member said the hospital was later cleaned.
The Department of Health, however, denied the claim. "It will never happen that when a staff member tests positive, the management keeps quiet," said a spokesperson for the Department of Health. He further said that the department did not report on individual institutions, but rather on districts and subdistricts.
As of Monday, 6 July, Makhado had 49 cases of Covid-19, with 36 active cases, 12 recoveries and one death.
"What is special with the Elim case? Every day we hear over the radio and television that in Western Cape or Kwazulu Natal a health centre was closed after a worker at the clinic tested positive,” said Khosa.
Speaking to Limpopo Mirror on condition of anonymity, one of the businesspeople who has been running a small retail shop at the centre said that the situation was very scary. “We often advise our customers to wear masks and practice social distancing, because some do not take the virus seriously. They think it is not yet in our area. If department does the right thing by announcing to the public about Covid-19 cases, then this forces the public to change their behaviour.”
Date:11 July 2020 - By: Bernard Chiguvare
Bernard Chiguvare is a Zimbabwean-born journalist. He writes mainly for the online publication, Groundup.