The Western Cape Department of Health has updated its restrictions on hospital visitations in line with adjusted Level One lockdown.

The adjusted Level One restrictions were announced at the beginning of the month. Under the adjusted restrictions, visitors and escorts are only allowed at health facilities under special circumstances and will still be screened at the entrance of the facility.

In a statement the Provincial Health Department said: “During the third wave and level 3 restrictions, Western Cape Government Health had to restrict visitation at hospitals to align with regulations and to reduce the number of people in our facilities at a time. However, we firmly believe that being visited by their loved ones is an important part of a patient’s road to recovery. It is also essential to family who are anxious about the wellbeing of their loved one and wants to visit them in hospital. We also understand that it is also reassuring for young patients or the elderly to have an escort present when visiting the emergency room or outpatients’ department.”

The amended visitation guidelines include:
  • Outpatients:
    • One escort is only allowed for paediatric, disabled, vulnerable, or weak patients.
  • Emergency Unit:
    • Paediatric patients – one escort allowed to accompany the patient into the emergency room.
    • Terminal patients – family members allowed to be present, but only one or two family members allowed to be present at a time.
    • Disabled/vulnerable patients – one escort may be allowed depending on the situation. Will be assessed on a case-to-case basis.
    • All other patients: One escort will remain in the waiting room if there is sufficient space.
  • Inpatients (adults):
    • Limited to 30 minutes visitation per visitor.
    • Visiting time slot of 60 minutes per ward per day. Confirm with the hospital what the ward’s visiting hours are before visiting.
    • Terminally ill patients are allowed to be visited by loved ones. Restricted to 30 min per person per day – more people and longer time at the discretion of ward manager.
    • Critically ill patients are allowed one designated visitor once per day.
  • Inpatients (paediatric):
    • One parent/caregiver can be with the patient.
    • Parent/caregiver can alternate with other parents/caregivers, but only one is allowed with the patient at a time.
    • More family members allowed for terminal patients for 30 minutes, one person at a time. More people and longer time slots at the discretion of the ward manager.
  • Neonatal patients:
    • Mother can remain with the patient or regularly visit.
    • Birthing partner or one designated person can visit daily for 30 minutes. Longer visitation at discretion of ward manager.
  • Maternity & labour:
    • COVID-19 positive patients in labour – no birthing partners allowed.
    • COVID-19 negative patients in labour – one birthing partner during active labour if sufficient space and privacy are available.
    • C-section: Birthing partners are not allowed in theatre but can visit mother and baby for 30 minutes in the postnatal ward.
    • Teenagers in labour: A birthing partner will be accommodated at the discretion of the ward manager.
    • Post-natal ward: Birthing partner allowed to visit mother and newborn for 30 minutes per day during visiting period.
  • COVID-19 and PUI patients:
    • No visitors are allowed.
    • Can drop off parcels (toiletries, food, books, etc.)
    • Exceptions will be made for terminally ill patients.

The Department of Health reiterated that all patients and visitors are to maintain safety precautions including wearing a mask over their mouth and nose, maintaining a physical distance and washing or sanitising their hands regularly.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says reaching a global vaccination equity target of 40% needs a whole of government & society approach.

WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus says a more aggressive approach is needed to ensure that globally, more people get immediate access to a Covid-19 vaccine.

He says like any other natural disaster the Covid-19 pandemic should also be treated with urgency.

Read more here.

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The Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla has announced that from Wednesday 20 October, children between the ages of 12-17 years old will be able to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.

South Africa’s vaccination programme started in February with the Sisonke study which saw healthcare workers receive the Covid-19 vaccine first, then slowly other age groups were allowed to get their jab, culminating in any over 12 years old now being eligible for the jab.

There are a few useful things to remember:

  • There are 6 million children aged between 12 and 17 years old in South Africa
  • 12-17-year-olds will only receive one dose of the Pfizer vaccine
  • According to the Child Act, children 12 years and older are able to make health care decisions without the consent of their parents, guardian or caregiver.
  • Teenagers will be able to access public and private vaccination sites.
  • The Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) will be updated before 20 October to allow for teenagers to register for the Covid-19 vaccine and also report any possible side effects.
  • No one can be intimidated when it comes to choosing to be vaccinated, it is a voluntary health care programme – similarly, no one can be stopped from gaining access to health care.

Phaahla said that they have taken every precaution before authorising this cohort to get their jab. He made reference to international research which showed it was far safer for over 12’s to only receive one jab of the Pfizer vaccine. “We can assure parents and young people that even where [cases of myocarditis] have been noticed, there has been no permanent risk. We’re just taking precaution in this case,” said Joe Phaahla.

America, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Norway, China and India are already successfully vaccinated teenagers 12 years and older.

 

The Western Cape Education Department encouraged matriculants, over the age of 18, to get their Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible.

The WCED says if pupils get their injection this week still they would have two weeks to build up their immunity before the exams kick off.

This year’s matric examinations will start on 27 October 2021.

Education MEC, Debbie Schäfer says it’s important that Grade 12s keep themselves safe as they near the examinations.

Read more here.

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The Western Cape Health Department says fully vaccinated people are four times less likely to die from Covid-19 complications than those who are not vaccinated.

The Department once again, over the weekend, encouraged residents over the age of 50 to get their injection as soon as possible.

According to the province’s Head of Health, Dr. Keith Cloete getting at least one dose of a two-dose Covid-19 vaccine, will provide protection against serious illness, hospitalization or death.

He says that fully vaccinated people enjoy the best protection.

Access the latest Western Cape Covid-19 digital conference here.

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