GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - The Garden Route Disaster Management team and its partners are working around the clock putting emergency measures in place to handle all Covid-19 eventualities in the area.
Disaster Manager Gerhard Otto told Group Editors places of isolation are being set up for people who live in cramped conditions in crowded areas.
“Many people share small homes with numerous people and can’t self-isolate when they’ve been in contact with a Covid-19 sufferer. We are looking for venues where these people can stay for two weeks without contact with others.”
Quarantine centres are also being set up. “The same goes for people living in cramped conditions who have been diagnosed with Covid-19. Where do they go? We need to make provision for them to prevent further infections. We are planning to make use of municipal resorts in the district to serve as places of quarantine.”
The very sick will need to be hospitalised and the health department in collaboration with the SANDF in Oudtshoorn are going all out to set up field hospitals to handle the overflow. “At the peak of the virus the hospitals will not have enough beds for everyone. These hospitals will be rigged with medical equipment and personnel to provide quality care for those who come down with serious Covid-19 symptoms,” said Otto.
The numbers of infections in the Garden Route are climbing every day, but fortunately not as fast as in Cape Town and surrounds.
The official figure in the Garden Route now stands at 20, but is most probably much higher. Otto says they are still trying to trace people who had contact with those infected before the lockdown was enforced.
An employee of a Mug and Bean restaurant in Mossel Bay has tested positive for the virus and he and his co-workers had contact with hundreds of people prior to his diagnosis. “ The average incubation period [before someone shows symptoms] is 5,2 days. An infected person can spread the disease two days before showing any symptoms,” warns Otto.
According to researchers of the World Health Organisation, the virus can survive for up to three days on hard shiny surfaces like stainless steel cutlery, glass, counter tops and plastic containers. Porous substances like paper are much less likely to hold viable amounts of the virus. “You can see how contagious this disease is. Even HIV cannot survive on surfaces and dies soon after leaving the body,” Otto says.
Otto urged people to stay at home and to abide by the lockdown regulations. “People who disregard the rules can expect a fine of R1 500. In densely populated neighbourhoods it is difficult, but please stay inside and away from groups for the sake of your own health and your fellow South Africans.”
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