40% of staff tested for coronavirus at Cairo hospital come back positive: Official

Ahram Online , Sunday 10 May 2020


Around 40 percent of the hospital staff who have undergone tests for the coronavirus at Cairo's Al-Zahraa University Hospital have been found positive for COVID-19, an official has said.

Thirty-eight staff members tested positive for COVID-19 out of a total 101 people who underwent tests at the facility, Mahmoud Siddiq, vice president of Al-Azhar University, to which the hospital belongs, said on Saturday.

Fourteen cases were confirmed at the hospital late last week and 24 others were detected on Saturday, Siddiq said in comments to Sada El-Balad satellite TV channel.

The newly-detected cases include eight kitchen workers, an administrative staff member, and the rest are medical staff: doctors, nurses and other medical workers, according to Siddiq.

The new cases were due to be transferred to an isolation hospital in Cairo’s northeastern Nasr City district on Sunday morning.

A worker at the hospital’s kitchen and his wife, who is an administrative worker at the hospital, are believed to be the source of the infection, he added.

The hospital is planning to conduct 100 tests on Sunday for those who came in contact with the infected staff members, he said.

The hospital is no longer receiving patients and its emergency department has been shut since Thursday for sterilisation.

The hospital’s dialysis and intensive care patients have been transferred to other hospitals affiliated with Al-Azhar, Seddiq said, adding that the hospital may close for 14 days.

Egypt's health ministry has not provided a tally of doctors who have been infected or died from the flu-like virus. The Doctors Syndicate, however, has said that nine physicians have died as of Friday, and the latest tally of infections among medical staff it provided in late April was 90.

A health ministry spokesman said last week that only 12 percent of infected medical staff members contracted the virus while on duty at hospitals, while the rest got infected outside medical facilities.

A set of financial incentives has been adopted recently for Egyptian medical staff as part of the government's efforts to support members of the healthcare sector amid the coronavirus crisis.

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