An increase can still be seen in the number of COVID-19 cases in the West Coast District, although there are early signs that the province has entered the second wave’s peak. The West Coast District is one of the rural areas where the surge in cases started at a later stage than many other in the province.
We now have 2 741 active cases of COVID-19 compared to 2 725 active cases as on 11 January. Our hospitals and staff continue to be under extreme pressure. In the last seven to 14 days 159 people from this area were hospitalised due to COVID-19.
The District has welcomed a Mobile Testing Unit that was used in the Garden Route District. The Mobile Testing Unit, currently at Malmesbury Community Day Centre (CDC), provides antigen testing. Antigen testing lets healthcare workers determine if the protein that is part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is present. The antigen test results should be available within 30 minutes. If it is positive, you have COVID-19. If the antigen test is negative, you will still need to be tested for COVID-19 by swabbing in the back of your throat.
Dr Anthony Hawkridge, Manager of Medical Services in the Swartland/Bergrivier Subdistricts of Western Cape Government Health says the availability of this service will increase their testing capacity and relieve some of the pressure on the CDC and Swartland Hospital.
“It brings testing closer to those who need it most. It should also allow us to rapidly detect those who are positive and give them appropriate advice regarding isolation. At the moment we advise them to quarantine awaiting a result,” says Hawkridge.
“It may allow us to pick up patients who may need admission earlier than would otherwise have been the case.”
The Western Cape Department of Health is aware of rumours about a large number of COVID-19 positive workers at the Broodkraal farm in the Piketberg area who are apparently not in isolation.
The team monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic locally has confirmed that at 14 January there were eight individuals on the farm with active COVID-19.
Earlier in the pandemic an isolation facility was established on the farm so that employees would not have to leave their community during their time of isolation. Following the rumours our healthcare workers visited the farm on 14 January. “The co-operation from the farm managers are excellent. Just like when you separate yourself from others when you isolate at home, you have to have no contact with people from outside when you are in an isolation facility. You have to complete your ten days to prevent others from getting ill,” says Aletta Haasbroek who leads the COVID-19 monitoring team in the West Coast District.
She wants to reassure the community that the monitoring team responds quickly when someone tests positive. The Department remains in contact with role-players like famers to support them and their employees during this challenging time of the pandemic.
How to quarantine/isolate yourself
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, if you tested positive for COVID-19 or you are awaiting your test results, you should separate yourself from others for 10 days. You can end your time of separation sooner if you receive negative test results. If you were close to someone who had COVID-19 without wearing a mask and for more than 15 minutes, you must also separate yourself from others for 10 days.
“Our monitoring team reports that despite clear guidance from healthcare workers some people who should be in isolation have been seen shopping and moving around in the community. Being in isolation is an important barrier in protecting others from COVID-19. It also gives you the chance to rest and recover. If you cannot safely separate yourself or make alternative arrangements for food and medication, ask your healthcare worker about going to a Quarantine/Isolation facility.”
During your time of quarantine/isolation, you should:
• Stay in a room on your own. If this is not possible, do not share a bed with someone.
• Use your own towel and make sure others donâ€™t use it. Disinfect the surfaces/objects you touched after using the bathroom. Make a mixture of water and bleach (JIK) to use for disinfection.
• Only you should use the plate, fork, knife, cup, etc. that you are using.
• Ask the person who is caring for you to wash your clothes in warm water to disinfect them. The person caring for you should always wear a mask.
• Stay in your room as far as possible and avoid others in your home who are more vulnerable to get very sick if they get COVID-19 (older people and people with chronic conditions).
• Neither you nor others in your home should receive visitors. Everyone in your household must remain home.
Ask friends and family to run errands like buying food and medicine.
• Get as much rest as possible. Keep taking your chronic medication and drink lots of water so that you stay hydrated. If you have a fever, cool yourself by using a damp cloth. You can also use paracetamol like Panado as prescribed.
• If you are concerned that you cannot safely separate yourself from others ask your healthcare worker about the quarantine/isolation facilities in your area. There is no charge for staying at the facilities offered by Western Cape Government Health for quarantine/isolation.
• If you have trouble breathing, have chest pain or if you feel confused or struggle to wake up, you must get help urgently.
Call the ambulance (10177) or call the COVID-19 hotline at 080 928 4102.