Many South Africans are understandably concerned about the possibility of becoming infected with COVID- 19.
It is every person’s responsibility to take the necessary precautions to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 in our country says Mande Toubkin, Netcare’s general manager: emergency and trauma.
There are simple steps that individuals who meet case criteria, and suspect that they may have the coronavirus, should take to ensure that they access healthcare appropriately, so that they can be assisted as efficiently and effectively as possible.
What to do if you suspect you might have COVID-19
If you suspect that you have COVID-19, you need to self-quarantine.
It is crucial that you do not have contact with other people while waiting for the results, so that there is no risk that you could pass on the infection to them, should the test results later confirm that you have tested positively for COVID-19.
- Do not leave your house to go to any public places. If you need to go outside your home, do so on your own, not with any other people.
- If you live with other people, avoid or keep any contact to a minimum. Keep a distance of at least two metres from them if you do need to have contact, and do not spend time in the same room with another person.
- Stay in a room that is well ventilated, and open windows for ventilation.
- Discourage any visitors to your home.
- If you have a cough, wear a mask but make sure you follow the guidelines for the correct way of putting on the mask, wearing it and disposing of it to offer effective protection against the spread of infection.
- Use tissues and dispose of them immediately after use in a separate rubbish bag.
- Clean your hands often and thoroughly with alcohol based hand rub or hand spray, or wash them with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds.
- If you have to share a bathroom with others, clean the bathroom, door handles, taps and any other surfaces you may have touched with a bleach-based disinfectant each time you have used it to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.
- Keep the towels you use separately, do not share towels with other people.
- Ask friends or family to deliver essential groceries and medicines you may need while you are in self-quarantine. Alternatively, arrange for these items to be delivered by your supermarket or pharmacy. In either case, ask them to leave the deliveries outside the home for you to fetch.
- Don’t eat with other people in the home. If possible, use disposable crockery and utensils, and dispose of these in a separate rubbish bag. If you use normal crockery and utensils, you yourself should wash the items you have used immediately in hot water and dishwashing liquid or in a dishwasher at high temperature, separately for those used by other people in the home. Keep the crockery and utensils you use separately from that used by others in the home.
- Maintain good home hygiene, and clean any surfaces you may have touched often and thoroughly with a bleach-based disinfectant.
- Wash your clothing separately from that of others, in a washing machine at high temperature.
- If your symptoms worsen, phone the doctor who tested you for guidance.
- If you believe your symptoms have worsened to the point that you are facing a medical emergency, contact an emergency medical services provider and make them aware that you have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results.