52 Covid cases at Sonop old age home – management accused of non-compliance with regulations

Thirty-four elderly people and 18 staff members at the Sonop old age home near Brits have so far tested positive for Covid-19 and staff members blame the management for not complying with the Covid-19 regulations and protocol. They claim 12 elderly patients and a nurse have already died in just one week.

“We suspect that the elderly patients have died of Covid-19 and were never tested as so many deaths in one week is extremely unusual. It is highly unlikely that they all died of natural causes,” a staff member told Kormorant. Another told Kormorant that if staff members suspect they may have Covid-19, they are still expected to come to work until they receive their test results.

The old age home is being administrated by the North West Department of Social Development.

The first case was allegedly reported the beginning of July. “After the staff member tested positive and went into isolation, the people she had been in contact with were told to  come to work until they received their test results. They did and then a number of them also tested positive. Some were called while they were in isolation and told to come back to work as the ‘virus was now gone’. They have been intimidated.”

 “The old age home’s thermometer was broken last week and no one’s temperature was taken. After patients tested positive, the old people were moved from their rooms for only two hours for it to be fumigated before they were moved back again. People come and go and there is no control. Visitors and residents interact with each other freely. Some wear masks, some don’t. They don’t care about our old people,” a staff member said. “We are scared to go to work. There are so many infections and we feel management is not protecting us. We fear for our lives,” a nurse said.

The people who spoke to Kormorant said the grave concerns were reported to the senior management at the North West Department of Social Development’s district office but no action was taken.

“We are now forced to ask the press for help in order for the department to urgently address the crisis.”

Kormorant has asked the department for an urgent response to the allegations and will update the article as soon as we receive it.