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Bringing Covid-19 tests to people

The province may see the stabilisation of the second wave of Covid-19 cases and locally hospitals are under great pressure due to the virus.

This, according to the West Coast Department of Health.

The greater West Coast region is the last area to see a surge in cases the department explains.

“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 department said in a statement on Monday (18 January).

Various voluntary community testing took place last week in Vredenburg with residents in Saldanha getting the chance to determine if they have Covid-19 this week. Tests by the department will take place today at the taxi rank at Vraagom/Murray Streets and the Middelpos Thusong Centre tomorrow (Friday).

This is also good news for employees who are returning to work as employers are asking the workforces to get tested for the coronavirus. The Vredenburg Provincial Hospital recently advised employers that the facility cannot supply workers with Covid-19 test results as this puts more pressure on the facility.

However, in an effort to get more residents tested the department is providing antigen testing via its Mobile Testing Unit (MTU). Antigen testing is a rapid test that determines if the protein that is part of the Sars-CoV-2 virus is present by swabbing inside the nose. A positive test thus means the patient has Covid-19.

“The MTU brings testing closer to those who need it most. It should also allow us to detect rapidly those who are positive and give them appropriate advice regarding isolation,” Dr Anthony Hawkridge, Manager of Medical Services in the Swartland/Bergrivier Subdistricts of Western Cape Government Health, explains. “At the moment we advise them to quarantine awaiting a result.

Rapid testing also allows the department to pick up patients who may need admission earlier than would otherwise have been the case, he said.

Despite the department’s ongoing Covid-19 awareness campaigns the department confirmed that some residents who should be in isolation are still out and about. “Our monitoring team reports that despite clear guidance from health-care 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 health-care worker about going to a Quarantine/Isolation facility,” the department reiterated.

Municipalities have isolation and/or quarantine facilities for residents who are unable to isolate at home.

. 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.

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