News that Hout Bay has 22 positive Covid-19 cases has sent shockwaves through the community.
It remains unclear where in Hout Bay the cases were picked up, but according to ward councillor Roberto Quintas they are all in quarantine and isolated from the rest of their community.
Their families have also been placed in isolation and health workers are tracing their contacts.
“It is paramount that as a community we all continue to observe the lockdown regulations as specified by the national government and stay indoors, or when this is not possible, keep social distance and sanitise/wash hands as regularly as possible,” Mr Quintas said.
Community screening would continue and those experiencing any Covid-19-related health concerns should call the hotlines for further information, he said
“We will overcome this as a community, and I want to thank the front-line health workers who are performing ongoing screening in our communities.”
Mr Quintas stressed that everybody in Hout Bay should observe all the Covid-19 regulations and not congregate on street corners and at shops.
The Peace and Mediation Forum’s spokesperson, Warren Abrahams, said too many people were ignoring lockdown regulations and not taking the virus seriously enough.
“People are still ignorant and allowing their kids to roam the streets,” he said.
It’s nearly two weeks since the first Covid-19 case was reported in Imizamo Yethu, and at the time there appeared to be very little compliance with lockdown regulations there (“First Covid-19 case for IY”, Sentinel News, April 17, 2020).
Mr Abrahams said he understood confidentiality was needed but felt it would be helpful for the community to know where the 22 cases were.
“It is right on our doorsteps, and if it spreads in the informal and closely knit communities, it will definitely take a toll on us.”
Hangberg resident Lucinda Rhode blamed locals for the spike in the number of cases, saying they were ignoring lockdown regulations.
“There are people chilling on the street corner like it’s a holiday or something. There are even children playing in the park and people are walking up and down the road, visiting each other and completely ignoring the lockdown.”
Ms Rhode also felt the community should know where the cases were.
“How are we supposed to prevent ourselves from catching this deadly virus if we do not know where it is? Yes, I can understand that they are trying to keep the person that was affected safe, but our safety is just as important.”
Darryl Cornelius, from Hout Bay, was not surprised to hear about the increase in numbers.
“Since the start of the lockdown, you look at other suburbs and you see very little movement. Here in Hout Bay, it remained active and people were walking around curious to see what this lockdown was all about.
“It was more of a holiday than an actual lockdown, and now look where we are.”
Provincial Department of Health spokeswoman Natalie Watlington said they did not give a suburb-by-suburb breakdown of Covid-19 cases to protect patient confidentiality.
“If patients want to disclose their status, they may do so on their own accord,” she said. “The onus of disclosure is on the patient, and we commend any patient who wishes to disclose as a means of educating and informing the community.”
BLOB If you have any Covid-19 related concerns or are experiencing any of the symptoms, contact the National Institute of Communicable Diseases’ 24-hour toll-free hotline at 0800 029 999 or the provincial hotline at 021 928 4102 for advice on what to do next.