Commotion in Mfuleni, Cape Town as maid gets in contact with coronavirus-positive employer

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TOWNSHIPS have been sent into a tailspin after a Mfuleni resident, employed as a domestic worker, made contact with her employer, who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) following a recent trip to Germany.

Manzomthombo Secondary School in Mfuleni and Mandalay Primary near Mitchells Plain, the schools the woman’s children attend, were closed yesterday to avoid possible transmission.

The mother, who did not want to be named, said her employer’s children also tested positive. There were six more laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 16.

Manzomthombo Secondary School principal John Matiso said as soon as he was told about the contact, he let the pupils go home. “I gave the children letters to give to their parents explaining the circumstances,” he said.

The woman’s younger child and her fellow Grade 7 peers were also sent home. News of the possible transmission spread like wildfire across the province yesterday, bringing to the fore the vulnerability of densely populated areas.

Pinky Mashiane, president of United Domestic Workers of South Africa, said: “In the case of the domestic worker whose employer tested positive and has not assisted in getting her tested, she should inform us so that we open a case.”

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu yesterday directed her department to increase provision of water and sanitation in informal settlements and rural areas.

“We find ourselves in an unfortunate situation where we are called upon to respond to this pandemic. We commit ourselves to do everything possible to respond to the urgent needs of our people, through the provision of water and sanitation as we confront the possible spread of the virus,” Sisulu said.

“We call upon everyone in the human settlements, water and sanitation sector to work with the government in responding to the coronavirus. We also appeal to residents in areas where we will be providing services to work with our officials. This is a matter which requires all of us to play our role in order to succeed,” she said.

Several other schools have reported closing, citing suspected transmissions.

Table View preschool Little Learners closed after a parent suspected that she might have had contact with a person with the virus.

Owner and principal Chantelle Dammarel said the parent would be quarantined for the next two weeks.

Ladismith Secondary in the Klein Karoo has postponed its matric ball, which was scheduled for Thursday.

Principal Shaanta Lee said the students’ safety came first. “Due to the prohibition of gatherings, we felt it was necessary to postpone the ball and not take risks,” she said.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED), meanwhile, stuck to its guns and said schools may only close tomorrow.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s spokesperson, Kerry Mauchline, said: “Public schools cannot decide to close earlier than Wednesday on their own.”

Provincial Health Department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said: “All six positive tests were received from private laboratories. “Feedback given to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases is that these six new cases, adding to the existing 10, all presented to private facilities with flu-like symptoms and a recent international travel history to various countries.

CONTRARY to speculation, there is no cost involved in testing for Covid-19 at public health facilities.

However, in order to have the test done, you need to present flu-like symptoms; have a recent international travel history to an area where there was a person-to-person transmission; or have come in contact with a confirmed case.

Health Department spokesperson, Popo Maja, said: “If you go to a public sector facility, the test is free, unless one is on medical aid. If you get private healthcare, it is R1 200 to R1 400 per test.”

Provincial health spokesperson Mark van der Heever said should people meet the case definition, they should call their nearest health facility to set up an appointment.

He said Tygerberg and Mitchells Plain hospitals, and other facilities, were designated to tackle the virus

“The actual taking of the test can be done at their nearest facility and sent to the National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD). The patient will be advised to self-isolate at home until the results return, which takes between 24-48 hours,” he said.

The department confirmed 16 cases in the province yesterday.

“It is advisable for you to stay at home and self-isolate if you display the symptoms of Covid-19 (cough, fever, sore throat) combined with an

“The City is working closely with the lead agencies involved Zahid Badroodien Mayco member, community services

international travel history or if you came into contact with a confirmed case. Contact the Hotline on 0800 029 999. They will advise you on the next steps. For Western Cape citizens struggling to get through to the Hotline an alternative number has been set up to assist local citizens with health-related information on Covid-19 – 021 928 4102,” it said.

Van der Heever said they had also received notifications of criminals who are allegedly taking advantage of the coronavirus.

“We advise the public that there are no door-to-door tests being conducted and such activity should be reported to the police,” he said.

Mayco member for community services Zahid Badroodien said primary care clinics are not yet testing clients for Covid-19.

“We would like to reassure our residents that the City is working closely with the lead agencies involved, to ensure a co-ordinated and effective response, if required. We do ask that the public please take cognisance of the key prevention messages around hand-washing, but also prevent the transmission of germs when coughing or sneezing if you have a cold. We’ve also seen a run on items like hand sanitiser in stores, but soap – when correctly used – is actually more effective,” he said.

– Cape Times

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