Community screening got underway in two communities over the weekend (Happy Valley and Ilitha Park) and rolled out in a further five today. A total of 1492 people were screened over the weekend, and 45 swabs taken.
Minister of Health, Nomafrench Mbombo said: “We must ensure that our vulnerable communities are screened and tested in greater numbers to ensure our people are protected against the spread of the COVID-19 disease. I was at Mbekweni in Paarl this morning to give support to our community teams and we had a huge turn-out”.
Over the weekend, the department also saw a number of false reports around what the testing entails. One of these was a video indicating that the test swabs are contaminated.
“We strongly condemn this fake news. SAPS has indicated to us today that they are investigating this instance of spreading fake news, and I hope the appropriate steps are taken against the person responsible. This kind of messaging is not only inaccurate, it is also dangerous as people could put their own health, and the health of those around them, at risk by not getting tested when they should in fact get tested.”
The screening process which we are rolling out entails the following:
-Community Health Workers will go door-to-door to ask people standard questions.
-Depending on the answers, some people will be asked to present themselves for testing.
-Testing will be done in either a mobile unit, or at the nearest health facility – community members will be advised where to go.
-At the health facility/ mobile unit, social distancing measures will be put in place.
-The test will be performed as a mouth swab, which is clinically safe.
–The community member will be advised to quarantine themselves while they await their test result which can take approximately two days.
If the test is positive for COVID-19, the person will be contacted and the process of isolation will be explained to them. If they are unable to isolate themselves in their current home situation, arrangements will be made for them to be transferred to a safe isolation facility.
-Their recent close contacts will also be contacted by a tracing team.
“This screening is not something to be afraid of. It is part of our country’s effort to stop the spread of the virus, by making sure those who are sick are identified and cared for.”