WESTERN CAPE NEWS - The Western Cape Government Health (WCGH) is deeply disheartened by the passing of 20 staff members (WCGH: 17; CoCT: 3) in the last 20 days.
The pandemic has claimed the lives of 71 WCGH public health workers to date and approximately 1000 overall deaths in the Western Cape during the last week.
“These are not just numbers. They were mothers, colleagues, contributors in the community, shoulders-to-cry-on, care givers and an incredible loss to the people whose lives they touched. We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to their bereaved loved ones, acquaintances and colleagues,” says Chief Operating Officer, Dr Saadiq Kariem.
The increase in staff decedents coincides with immense staffing pressures on the health system. The Department has made a call for volunteers, particularly retired/unemployed persons with health experience, in attempts to bolster the efforts of those working tirelessly throughout the festive season; facing the pandemic as well as other emergencies that are commonplace during this time.
Through the establishment of onsite wellness clinics, equipped with trained professionals, at various health facilities the precedence of mental health and wellbeing of staff has come to the fore. These on-site clinics are available via the Employee Health and Wellness Programme, in partnership with Metropolitan Health, and aim to empower employees to deal with the emotions and anxiety experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; through coping strategies and guidance.
“We often talk about physical wellbeing of people but the mental wellbeing of each and every person is as important. During this difficult time, we are doing all we can to give our staff much needed support. They are the backbone of our health system and community, bringing hope and healing. We have to take care of them together with the public – please wear your mask, social distance and stay home unless you’re out seeking essential services,” urges Deputy Director General: Corporate Services Support, Simon Kaye.
ESSENTIAL COVID-19 INFORMATION
The Western Cape currently has a rapidly rising number of Covid-19 cases and hospitals and other health facilities are under severe pressure. Here are some of handy facts to keep you safe during the upcoming days and weeks:
When and where can I go for a COVID-19 test?
All government clinics and hospitals offer COVID-19 testing. However, you will first be screened (asked questions) to determine whether you meet the test criteria. If you meet the criteria, you will be referred for testing. Depending on testing capacity, some facilities may restrict testing to specific timeslots.
Who will qualify for a test (testing criteria)?
We have restricted our testing so that we can make sure we have tests available for those who really need it.
In the cape Metro you will only be tested if:
- You are admitted to the hospital and have coronavirus symptoms
- You are over 45 years and have coronavirus symptoms (in rural districts all people with symptoms may be tested should the facility have capacity to do so)
- You are of any age, have coronavirus symptoms, and have a chronic condition such as diabetes, TB, HIV, kidney disease, hypertension, chronic lung disease on treatment, and cancer on treatment
- You live in a care or old age home and have coronavirus symptoms
- You are a health worker and have coronavirus symptoms
Please note that testing for travel purposes is not done at any Western Cape Government Health clinic or hospital.
How long will it take to get my results?
You should expect a turn-around time of 48 - 72 hours. You and your household should isolate until you receive your test results. Do not go to the shop, visit other people, or go to the clinic to ask for your results. You will receive a phone call or SMS with your results.
This means staying in a separate room from everyone else at home. Do not leave your house until you have completed your isolation period. Do not go out or have visitors. If you have been in close contact with someone, let them know you tested positive so that they can quarantine.
Mild symptoms: Isolate for 10 days after your symptoms started
COVID-19 positive but no symptoms: Isolate for 10 days after you were tested
COVID-19 symptoms but do not qualify for test: Isolate for 10 days after your symptoms started
Ongoing symptoms: Sometimes you can experience symptoms for much longer than your 10 days isolation. It may take some time to feel well again and you may experience some chest discomfort and a degree of breathlessness. You can stop isolating after 10 days since your symptoms started (if you isolated at home without needing hospitalisation).
If you cannot breathe, go to the hospital’s emergency centre or call the ambulance on 10177.
What if I can’t isolate or quarantine at home?
You can use a free government facility. It is safe, you will have a room and access to a bathroom. Call your clinic or the hotline on 080 928 4102 (toll-free) for more information.
What is a close contact?
Someone you have been in contact with for more than 15 minutes, closer than 1.5 m, without wearing a mask.
Download the CovidAlertSA app to receive notifications if you were a close contact.
When must I go to the hospital’s emergency centre?
Our hospitals are under severe pressure. Only go to the hospital’s emergency centre if it is an emergency. If you struggle to breathe, have chest pain, lose consciousness, or experience confusion, you must go the hospital’s emergency centre or call the ambulance on 10177.
I am referred to a hospital, what should I expect and what is allowed?
Most facilities allow patients to bring their own cellphone, chargers. Bring basic toiletries (soap, washcloth, toothbrush, toothpaste) if you can. They do not allow food deliveries, clothes and bedding delivered.
Visitation at our facilities are not allowed under COVID-19 restrictions. Please try and be patient with staff who are doing their best to reassure concerned family members.
What is the best way to remain safe and healthy?
The most important safety tip is to try and stay safe and healthy. Continue wearing a mask, keep your social distance, and if you were in close contact with COVID-19 case or show any symptoms, stay home and isolate.
We urge the public to protect themselves, their families and the healthcare system by adhering to regulations and safety measures.
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