The first reported cases of the Covid-19 (Corona) virus understandably brought about a measure of anxiety and also concerns – especially from residents who either returned recently from Europe or had contact with family who returned from there.
Whilst the Covid-19 virus in many ways has symptoms similar to flu, it is a lot more contagious and seems to more negatively impact on the elderly and people who have other diseases or general health conditions that make them immune-compromised. Also, there is no vaccine yet to counter the Covid-19 virus.
What to do?
- Determine your possible risk: If you are showing any flu-like symptoms, check your risk profile against the National Institute for Communicable Diseases “NICD” checklist (see on the next page);
- Arrange for a test – it is suggested that you do so remotely through the telephone numbers below. If you have high fever (above 38°C) and one of the conditions of the NICD checklist applies it is recommended that you be tested. From this stage until the result of the test is confirmed it would be best if you limit close contact with other persons as far as possible. DO NOT RUSH FIRST THING TO YOUR DOCTOR as that will establish close contact with others and potentially spread the virus. It will also compromise the consulting rooms of the doctors – see explanation on the last page why it is in national interest to limit contact;
- To arrange the test remotely you may manage the process yourselves using the steps outlined below or use the Greater Midstream Forum “GMF” as a “post office” or alternatively contact the NICD hotline at 080-0029-999.
- Details on the GMF remote “post office” process. To make use of the GMF hotline send an email with “Covid-19 test” in the heading of the email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- The mail will be returned with a copy of the standard “Risk Assessment Form” to be completed (the NICD checklist) and also a request for your personal detail and also the detail of your GP. A blank copy of the compulsory NICD PUI (Patient Under Investigation) will also be attached on which you can enter your personal detail. Return the mail with these documents to the GMF hotline – or manage the process yourselves by sending it directly to your doctor if you have the details. Your mail will be forwarded to the doctor indicated by you. Your GP will then make contact with you to complete the compulsory NICD notification form as well as a referral note to Ampath Pathologists;
- The doctor may send the information directly to Ampath or send it via the GMF. You will be informed and may then contact Ampath at 012 940 9890 or Lancet at 012 942 1102 and arrange an appointment for testing as well as the payment terms – cost of the test is between R1 000 and R1 500.
- Ampath will direct you to the Midstream Hill Medical Park parking area where you must phone them and confirm that you are in the parking area – please keep your
self-isolation in place by staying in your car and do not enter the building. They will then visit you in your car and take the sample there. (Note: Details on testing at other facilities may be obtained through the NICD hotline. We were advised that testing at a state hospital is free of charge)
- If you have high fever and your flu has progressed to a full-on pneumonia or you urgently require assistance to breath. Escalate the process by phoning the Mediclinic Corona-24h hotline at 086-024-0024 or go to the Mediclinic Emergency Room – they are equipped and ready to be of assistance.
Information provided by the GMF, 16 March 2020 _________________________________________________________________________________
The need to isolate = a nation accepting the responsibility to protect the health care resources
The need to limit close contact has more to do with limiting the number of new cases contracted daily than the severity of the symptoms. As illustrated in the attached graphs healthcare systems always have a limited capacity and should the demand for care be above the available capacity, the system may collapse. Should the system collapse it may lead to increased levels of mortality and a higher level of contamination.
By limiting close contact, the healthcare system will be able to cope better and provide support to those that may need special attention. It is also important to protect the healthcare workers from possible contamination by not visiting them if the risk assessment indicates a high probability of being positive for the Covid-19 virus. It is then best to be tested or, if in a dire situation, visit the local hospital for specialised assistance.
NICD Checklist – Risk Assessment form
CASE DEFINITION FOR PERSON UNDER INVESTIGATION (PUI) FOR COVID-19
Patient with acute respiratory infection: Sudden onset of at least one of the following: fever ≥ 38°C or history of fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath AND
In the 14 days prior to onset of symptoms, met at least one of the following criteria:
- Were in close contact with a person confirmed as Covid-19 carrier OR
- Had a history of travel to areas with presumed ongoing community transmission of SARS CoV-2R OR
- Worked in, or attended a health care facility where patients with COVID-19 were treated OR
- Has severe pneumonia of unknown cause/ aetiology