Covid-19 testing to be limited to high risk individuals

Tygerberg Hospital staff in personal protection equipment (PPE). Picture: KAREN WATKINS
The provincial Health Department has announced that testing for the coronavirus will be limited to high risk individuals going forward.

Those who will be tested:

– A person who’s already in hospital and have coronavirus symptoms

– A health care worker with coronavirus symptoms

– A person over 55, have other illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension etc. and have coronavirus symptoms

– A person under 55, with underlying conditions and have coronavirus symptoms

– If you live in a care facility or old age home and have coronavirus symptoms

Following this announcement, the City of Cape Town, which currently has 19 038 cases of Covid-19, has shared advice on practical tips for both patients and caregivers to keep everyone safe.

 – If possible, place the patient in a well-ventilated single room and household members should stay in a different room or, if that is not possible, maintain a distance of at least one metre from the ill person.

– Limit the movement of the patient in the house and minimise shared space.

– Limit the number of caregivers. 

– Visitors should not be allowed until the patient has completely recovered and has no signs or symptoms of the virus.

– Perform hand hygiene after any type of contact with patients or their immediate environment.

– When washing hands with soap and water, it is preferable to use disposable paper towels to dry hands. If these are not available, use clean cloth towels and replace them frequently.

– Use dedicated linen and eating utensils for the patient; these items should be cleaned with soap and water after use.

– Daily clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched in the room where the patient is being cared for. 

– Clean and disinfect bathroom and toilet surfaces at least once daily or after use if a shared bathroom.

–  Clean the patient’s clothes, bed linen, and bath and hand towels using regular laundry soap and water or machine wash at 60 – 90°C (if possible) with common household detergent, and dry thoroughly. 

– ‘Double bag’ waste such as tissues or disposable masks used by the sick person and store for five days before putting out for collection.

Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Dr Zahid Badroodien, said: “This is extremely important, because while home recovery is advised, patients should be mindful of any worsening of their symptoms in the event that it might require more advanced care – particularly if they develop problems breathing, experience persistent pain or pressure in the chest area and struggle to wake up.”