The current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019 has caused a lot of anxiety and panic in our communities. On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a pandemic which calls for
immediate action to ensure that there are precautionary measures within our communities. Subsequently, yesterday on 16 March 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a national address to declare the virus a national disaster as there are currently 61 patients who have been
tested positive of the coronavirus in South Africa; namely Gauteng, KZN, Western Cape, with Mpumalanga being the latest province.
“As health professionals at Botshilu Private Hospital, we acknowledge that during such a time of a serious public health crisis, we need to take immediate action in fighting the outbreak and stigma around COVID-19 and commit ourselves in equipping and informing our community members with credible health information”, says Dr Rampedi, CEO and Founder of Botshilu Private Hospital “It is unclear at this stage how long are we yet going to live with the virus but we want to reassure the community that we are ready and prepared to face this challenging time together. You are not alone; we pledge to walk this journey with you. We had successfully coped with other health
outbreaks in the past, we are confident that we will soon overcome this as well”, continues Dr Rampedi.
The hospital has implemented several precautionary measures to be able to assess, identify and respond effectively to any person suspected or confirmed of the virus. “We are also working closely and cooperating with the National Institute of Communicable
Diseases (NICD) and Department of Health (DoH) as we receive regular updates from them. We will also be launching an educational campaign soon and we will update the public regularly as new information or technical guidance become available”, Matron Marisa Marais, Nursing
“In the meantime, we would like to urge the community to be alert and familiarise yourselves with the health education materials made available online and in print by health institutions such as World Health Organisation (WHO), NICD and DoH. Also, please be informed that we care so much about the wellbeing of our community members that we had to effectively put in place protective measures to help combat potential risk of this virus that has unfortunately claimed a lot of lives around the world, with Europe being the epicentre of Covid-19”, concludes the Matron Prevention is better than cure. Since the announcement of the outbreak, the hospital has ensured the following measures to safeguard our patients, staff and doctors from the COVID-19 outbreak:
1. Screening station at the main reception ensuring that every person entering the hospital gets their temperature tested and to clean their hands using alcohol hand rub daily.
2. Elevated temperature of above 38°C; which indicates fever, is treated as an alert and the person will then be referred for immediate medical attention.
3. Education is key- nurses onsite give people health education on the virus to advise and sensitise them on steps to take to protect themselves and their loved ones.
4. Visuals to capture and engage the audience’s attention- educational posters and banners are placed within the hospital to give people basic protective measures.
5. To control the influx of visitors coming to the hospital, we have restricted our visitation to one visitor per patient and we only have visiting hours in the evening from 19:00 – 20:00.
6. Every visitor is given a face mask at the security gate and requested to wear it before proceeding to the hospital.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COVID-19
What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, face or possibly their
eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
• Shortness of breath
What are severe complications from this virus?
Some patients have pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure and in some cases death.
How can I help protect myself?
People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
• Avoid direct, unprotected contact with a farm or wild animals.
• Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat.
• Although facemasks do not provide complete protection from an airborne disease as this, they may at least provide some additional defence against infection.
If you are sick, you should do the following to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others:
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash or with your bent elbow
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What should I do if I recently travelled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19?
If you have travelled from an affected area, there may be restrictions on your movements for up to two weeks. If you develop symptoms during that period (fever, cough, and trouble breathing), seek medical advice. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness.
Is there a vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.
Is there a treatment?
There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
Sources: National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD) and World Health Organisation
(WHO) and Department of Health
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CORONAVIRUS 24-HOUR HELPLINE: 0800 029 999
For more information please contact:
Nursing Services Manager:
Matron Marisa Marais: 012 798 7000 / email@example.com
Infection Prevention & Control Specialist:
Sr. Emma Matjeke: 012 798 7000/ firstname.lastname@example.org