Isolate and #StopTheSpread
In line with international and national advice, the Western Cape Government has embarked on the isolation (of infected people) and quarantine (of their contacts), as a very important step in the process to suppress the spread of Covid-19. Particularly in areas of high population density, where it is not possible to isolate at your own home, it is vital that positive cases and their households are able to stay apart from their community to stop the further spread of the virus.
There are certain instances when people will be required to isolate. These include when:
- people have tested positive for Covid-19 - they will be required to isolate themselves for 14 days
- people may have no symptoms but are a close contact of a confirmed (received test results) case -they should isolate themselves for 14 days.
- people who have symptoms and are not sure if they have Covid-19 (may be awaiting testing or test results) – they should isolate as a precaution. If test is negative, the person can move about in their household.
- people have been a close contact of a known positive case who is awaiting their test results –
- they will be required to isolate (quarantine) as a precaution until the test results become available (if tests of the Person under Investigation (PUI) tests negative, the contacts can move about in their household.
- if the PUI tests come back positive they need to isolate for 14 days (because they are now a case).
- Should anyone in the household in isolation develop symptoms during the 14 days isolation period, they should be tested, and the isolation period should be followed starting from the day of symptoms developing.
Isolation in this instance means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people.
Some practical measures for the ill person also include:
• staying at home in a different room (and bathroom if possible)
• not leaving the house
• not having visitors
• use different cutlery and crockery than the rest of the household
• separate laundry and special rubbish disposal
It is also advised that your household gets assistance from outside (having food delivered is a good idea) because the whole household may also be in quarantine for symptoms. This means they also cannot leave the house.
If someone cannot safely isolate at home due to circumstances, the health team will refer them to an isolation facility where they will receive temporary care away from home. The Western Cape Government and municipalities are providing comfortable facilities where they can be separated from your families until it is safe for them to return. Transport to and from facilities, food, laundry services and waste disposal will be provided. We understand that separation from families is a difficult experience, but it is necessary to #StopTheSpread to loved ones and community. It is very important that the instructions about isolating yourself is followed.
Hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, keeping a minimum distance of 1.5 m, don’t touch your face, and stay home (and apart) when you are sick.
It is also recommended to wear a mask in isolation to protect other members of the household. Caregivers of Covid-19 cases are also required to wear a mask when interacting with the ill person.
An important feature of isolation and quarantine is that health teams will follow up and check with you to monitor your wellbeing. Please make sure you are contactable and answer their questions truthfully.
It is important to alert these teams to any severe symptoms. If needed, you will be referred for further medical assistance.
We understand that this is a very stressful time for those who have to isolate. We are doing whatever we can to help make this as easy as possible for you.
We want to remind our residents to be kind and compassionate during this time. Like anyone who falls ill, people who are infected with Covid-19 deserve our love and care.
We must also remember that most people fully recover from Covid-19, and they should be welcomed back into our communities when they return.
The Western Cape Department of Health wants to thank every person for their hard work during this time. We know that if we all work together in this way, we will be successful in our efforts to the stop the spread of Covid-19.