Minister welcomes steady increase in COVID-19 recoveries across Old Age Homes | Western Cape Government



Minister welcomes steady increase in COVID-19 recoveries across Old Age Homes

14 October 2020

The Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez (DSD) welcomes the steady increase in COVID-19 recoveries across old age homes in the Western Cape, with the current number of older persons in facilities infected now standing at seven.

As of the 12th October 2020, a total of 1666 older persons recovered from COVID-19. Whilst the number of recoveries is encouraging, the Department will continue to monitor strict health and safety protocols.

The current figures show an increase of 161 recoveries and a decrease of 59 infections, since the Department last provided an update on 10 September 2020.

Minister Fernandez said, “I’m pleased that we are continuing to experience a steady increase in COVID-19 recoveries across our old age homes. I would like to share Premier Alan Winde’s sentiment made in his media statement released yesterday: ‘ Indeed, while we have passed our peak in the Western Cape, we must not let our guard down. As long as there is even one COVID-19 infection, it will be possible for the virus to spread to other people. The virus is still out there, and it remains important that we keep ourselves safe’.” 

Minister Fernandez added, “ Whilst I welcome the change in directions from the National Department of Social Development which highlights that visitations are allowed to take place, we must do so with extra precaution. I am appealing to all family members and the loved ones of our older persons residing in old age homes, to be extra vigilant by following the necessary COVID-19 health and safety protocols when visiting these respective facilities.

We can prevent a second wave of the virus from taking place, if we work together!”

Minister Fernandez continued, “ I wish to thank all our NPO partners, carers, staff and officials for their ongoing commitment and dedication in helping us prevent the further spread of the virus at these facilities. We are grateful and appreciative of your work during these challenging times.”

DSD is guided by the Older Persons Act, which ensures that the Department implements its statutory obligations by ensuring that the facilities and programmes that are available for Older Persons comply with the statute and relevant norms and standards.

The Department partners with the NPO sector, other government departments, tertiary institutions and local authorities in providing access to quality services to vulnerable Older Persons.

In the Western Cape, there is a total of 300 old age homes of which, 117 are funded by the provincial DSD.

In response to the challenges that COVID-19 poses for old persons, the department has offered the following support to old age homes during the COVID-19 pandemic: 

  1. Protocols have been put in place between the provincial DSD and the Department of Health with regards to referrals of COVID-19 outbreaks at old age homes (NOTE: The Health department do screening and testing on-site at home with staff and residence - see link for more information Guidelines for Long Term Care Facilities and Covid19).
  2. An additional R 1.7 million has been made available for old age homes for the management of COVID-19, over and above existing allocations.
  3. 150 000 masks, 5000 shield masks, 10 000 bars of soap and 18 000 Domestos all-purpose cleaner and 50 litres of sanitizers per Home have been distributed to old funded old age homes across the province.
  4. Additional relief staff are provided where and when needed.
  5. Specialised training for carers.
  6. Facilitated the deployment of volunteers to deep-clean old age homes – with a focus on homes in vulnerable communities and hotspot areas.

“I would like to encourage the public to frequently wash their hands, and to wear your masks correctly each time you leave home. It is also crucial to clean all surfaces around you - whether it be at home or work. Let’s do everything we can to ensure that we stop the further spread of the virus and protect those who are older and live with high-risk comorbidities. By doing this we can get our province moving forward again,” concluded Minister Fernandez. 

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For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below:

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949