Update: Old Age Home Covid-19 Recoveries
As the country experiences a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, the provincial Social Development Minister Sharna Fernandez has expressed concern over the rising number of infections at old age homes in the province.
I am encouraged that to date, 1 770 seniors have recovered. However, as at 14 December, there were 32 active cases, up from the 20 cases last reported on 4 November.
The Eden-Karoo and Metro North regions account for most of the cases, but the number of infections are also increasing in other areas.
The Department has written to all old age homes to inform them that the numbers of infections are increasing, and have asked that they be vigilant in their Covid-19 management. While national regulations do allow for visits to old age homes, various boards of directors have determined that visits will be suspended or limited.
This is being done in the interest of protecting the residents who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 due to existing underlying illnesses and comorbidities.
The protocols developed by the provincial DSD and Department of Health, which guide the management and referrals of Covid-19 outbreaks at homes, are still in place. (see link for more information Guidelines for Long Term Care Facilities and COVID-19).
“To those family members who are able to visit their loved ones in old age homes, I urge to you to postpone the visit if you show any symptoms, or have come into contact with anyone who has displayed symptoms or tested positive for Covid-19,” said Minister Fernandez.
Minister Fernandez further appealed to residents to protect all seniors. “While you may be asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms, you could infect your loved ones who may be more vulnerable to severe symptoms. Let us all act responsibly this festive season so that we can protect our seniors in old age homes, our own homes, and also our communities. Always wear a mask properly in public, sanitise regularly, avoid crowded places, keep your gatherings small and preferably outdoors,” said Minister Fernandez.
There are 300 old age homes in the province, of which, 117 is funded by the provincial Department of Social Development. The Department continues to monitor health and safety protocols at these facilities.
We urge the public to access credible information on https://www.westerncape.gov.za/department-of-health/coronavirus.