Tshwane identifies sites for COVID-19 screening and testing

Arrive Alive

Tshwane identifies sites for COVID-19 screening and testing. Photo : Arrive Alive
Tshwane identifies sites for COVID-19 screening and testing. Photo : Arrive Alive

The City of Tshwane has begun embarking on an aggressive screening campaign for COVID-19 at all our clinics in a bid to identify people with symptoms and separate them from those without symptoms.

This move is in line with the announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa for COVID-19 joint mass screening on Monday, 30 March 2020.

Currently, all 24 clinics that are run and managed by the City of Tshwane are screening 4 400 people on average per day as part of an intensified drive to control and curb the spread of the virus.

A prerequisite for testing is that each person must first be screened through a questionnaire and possibly a temperature check. To this end, fieldworkers will visit homes to screen communities for coronavirus symptoms, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. Communities will be asked questions about their symptoms and travel history, in addition to their temperatures being checked.

It is important for our communities to understand that testing will only be limited to those persons that qualify as per the screening questionnaire, meaning that not everybody will qualify to be tested. The screening outcome will determine whether a test is required.

People that exhibit COVID-19 symptoms will be referred to identified clinics for testing. Those that have tested positive for the coronavirus, but have mild symptoms, will remain in isolation at home if their home environment is suitable for self-isolation, or will be placed at a facility provided by the government.

Those with severe symptoms will be immediately transferred to hospitals. Fieldworkers will also be rapidly deployed to trace people that have been in contact with those confirmed to be infected with the virus.
The screening and testing campaign will help identify those that exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus as quickly as possible, and help curb its spread.

To give effect to President Ramaphosa’s announcement, we will be actively involved in joint mass screening, tracing and testing through our various teams, which include an outbreak response team and contact tracing teams.

Whilst our drive is to protect the community, we are very mindful that our healthcare workers are our biggest and very important pillar in this fight. Our healthcare workers will wear protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, and use sanitizer to prevent the spread of the virus to communities.

The screening, testing and tracing campaign will assist the government to monitor and understand the geographical location of new cases in real time in the quest to combat the spread of the disease.

It is important for our communities to remain in their homes during the 21-day lockdown period and not travel, unless they fall within the category of essential services workers.

Community members who are concerned and have information to share should make use of the COVID-19 toll-free hotline for guidance: 0800 029 999.

Communities are reminded to maintain the highest standards of hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water for about 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer with 65% or more alcohol content, practicing good cough and sneeze etiquette, and avoiding touching their face, nose and eyes after touching surfaces that may be infected.

Once the identified testing sites have been approved, the details and time frames will be communicated to the public. The City is also awaiting confirmation of the amount of mobile units that will be allocated to Tshwane from the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) mobile testing fleet unveiled by the Minister of Health. The City will roll out its plan in a few days’ time.

By working together we can win the battle; it is entirely in our hands. We appeal for the community’s cooperation and support during this difficult period.

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