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Seven new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the Western Cape

14 March 2020

Media Release:
Seven new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the Western Cape – bringing total confirmed cases to 10
14 March 2020

 

As per protocol, the National Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, today announced seven more laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19, commonly referred to as the Coronavirus, in the Western Cape - bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to ten.

Positive tests from a both private and public laboratories confirmed the results between 13 and 14 March 2020 and have been provided to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases as required.

All patients (4 males and 3 females, varying ages) presented with flu-like symptoms with recent international travel history to various parts in Europe and the United States of America. Six of the patients presented to private facilities and one to a public hospital.

Six patients are self-isolating at home while one elderly patient was admitted to a private hospital’s isolation ward.

All ten confirmed cases are being monitored and followed up with by our health teams for 14 days. This includes regular testing every second or third day. Patients will be declared virus free if they test negative after two consecutive tests.

The Department will not release any personal information about the patients, as this is against the law, and we ask the public to respect their privacy while they recover. Their care is of utmost importance.

We realise the public are concerned but we want to assure you that we are following all international protocols in the response. It is important that we stay calm and follow the direction of the NICD, regarding testing and, if necessary, isolation.

Our Response team is following up all the known contacts of this patient, including those on the flights. They will be followed up and monitored for the next two weeks as well, as per the World Health Organisation guidelines.

The Joint Operations Centre (JOC) has been activated and had its second engagement and have established 7 work-streams. The work-streams will ensure our preparedness adopts a whole of society approach and a coordinated response to COVID-19.

It is advisable to reconsider or avoid non-essential international travel to affected areas, especially if you are a senior citizen, have some chronic conditions, underlying health conditions or are sick. General recommendations for personal hygiene, cough etiquette and keeping a distance of at least one metre from persons showing symptoms remain particularly important for all travellers.

Should you develop flu-like symptoms after visiting a country or area where COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person in the community OR had close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 stay calm. Remember even if you do have COVID-19 most people have a mild illness.

It’s important to seek care in a way that prevents you from potentially spreading it to others:

  • If you have access to private healthcare call your general doctor/ local health facility or NICD Hotline on 0800 029 999. Explain your symptoms and where you have travelled or with whom you have had contact.
  • If you use public healthcare call your local health facility or NICD Hotline on 0800 029 999. You will receive advice on what to do. If you are unable to make a call, go to your local facility. Before you enter the facility alert staff that you are concerned you have COVID-19. Expect to be asked to put on a facemask. You will be asked to wait separately from other patients until a health worker can help you. This is to avoid the risk of the virus spreading.

     Should you develop difficulty breathing seek care urgently If possible, call ahead to your local health facility to inform them you are en route.

    Prevention

    You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:
  • Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub for at least 20 seconds. Wash hands often, especially before handling food/ after using toilet or coughing/ sneezing.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze in the bend of elbow or with a tissue, once used throw away and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wearing a mask is unlikely to protect you if you are well. People who are coughing and sneezing who wear a mask (surgical mask fine, N95 not necessary) are less likely to infect others.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.

     
    The following official channels contain important information and can be contacted:
  • Provincial Facebook page: facebook.com/WCGHealth
  • The provincial landing page: https://westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus
  • Public Hotline: 0800 029 999

ENDS