Nosisi’s story: “The experience at the isolation facility was a good one”
On 27 May, Nosisi Jacobs received the news that she had tested positive for COVID-19. The 33-year-old mother of three from Langa was advised to isolate for 14 days. However, she could not isolate safely at her home and shared her concerns with her healthcare worker.
Fear of the stigma and discrimination in her community led her to seek assistance to isolate safely at a Western Cape Government Isolation facility. “I would stand at my window and see how people would walk by and look at my house, chatting, staring and pointing fingers. I realise now that it was the fear of the virus itself that made my community scared and that they never thought it would reach our community. But back then I felt scared and unsupported.”
Nosisi required further medical treatment and had to go to hospital before she could go to the isolation facility. On the day that she was collected from home by the ambulance, community members stood outside yelling and shouting. Nosisi spent a restless night at New Somerset Hospital without her children, aged four and six. The doctors at the hospital could see she was distressed and together with her doctor at Langa CHC, the doctors arranged for her children to isolate with their mother at the Lagoon Beach Isolation Facility.
“The experience at the isolation facility was a good one. We had to stay inside our room, but my children found it pleasant and comfortable. We were well taken care of and received three meals a day, and the necessary medical care. I never felt alone or abandoned, at one stage my medication had run out, and the nurses on duty organised what I required with efficiency. My children still talk about how beautiful the location was, as they didn’t want to come home!”
Nosisi says that by sharing her experience with her community, she has gained their support. “Now that I am home I am no longer afraid. My community can see that I am alive and well. Initially the fear of the unknown was what caused them to react the way they did. Now I am able to share my experience and they understand that anyone can get it, like me.”
Her message is simple: “We must support each other, because when you test positive, you need the support from your family and your community. Anyone can get Coronavirus. You never know who in your own life will be affected or infected next by this virus. Remember they are also scared. Be kind to those who get sick and offer to help them.”
The Western Cape Government’s quarantine and isolation facilities:
The Western Cape Government currently has 3760 isolation and quarantine facility beds and will soon have an additional 4766 beds available. Our approach to activating these facilities is as follows:
Clients with severe symptoms, as well as those at high risk of Covid-19 morbidity and mortality are assessed for the need of hospitalisation.
Clients who are symptomatic and do not require hospitalization are offered Quarantine (with or without testing). Once the facility is filled, we then move to activate the next facility.
The same process is followed for isolation facilities (for those confirmed to have Covid-19).
Premier Alan Winde has called on residents in the Western Cape to make use of these facilities if they are unable to safely quarantine or isolate at home.
“More than ever, we need to be compassionate, caring and reject discrimination when it occurs. Anyone can get infected and we all deserve to be treated with respect and kindness when battling this difficult illness.”
To arrange to go to an isolation or quarantine facility, contact:
Northern Tygerberg subdistrict: 021 815 8892/3 or email Tina.Swarts@westerncape.gov.za AND Jerome.Samson@westerncape.gov.za
Southern Western subdistrict: 021 202 090 or 021 202 0938 or email DOH-WSSS.COVID19@westerncape.gov.za
Khayelitsha Eastern subdistrict: 021 360 4710 or email Estelle.Lawrence@westerncape.gov.za AND Suhair.Solomon@westerncape.gov.za OR Sheila.McCloen@westerncape.gov.za
Klipfontein/Mitchells Plain subdistrict: 021 370 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org OR Stephanie.Fourie2@westerncape.gov.za