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Patients explain concerns around Covid-19 screening

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At the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak Wuhan, China the pandemic Covid-19 is slowing down but in South Africa, it has started gaining momentum. Today, the health department announced that there were 150 cases of Covid-19 nationally, since the first diagnosis under two weeks ago.

As the virus picks up speed via the second phase of local transmission, the question begs, are local hospitals ready to deal with an influx of infected patients?

A potential patient that needed to be transferred to one of the designated hospitals to check if he was infected or not, Fahiem Khan, explained the thorough process he and his wife had undergone as protocol.

Khan said his wife who experienced flu-like symptoms after travelling abroad was immediately transferred to Tygerberg Hospital.

“My wife went to see a doctor at St. Vincent clinic, when she mentioned that she has the flu and was travelling they immediately isolated her, gave her a mask and told her she needs to go to Tygerberg for screening,” said Khan.

The doctors feared that Khan’s wife would travel publicly and thus offered to transport her but she declined as she had her own private transport.

“What I can say is that both Tygerberg and St. Vincent clinic is taking this thing [Covid-19] very seriously because when we arrived at Tygerberg the doctor was waiting for us outside, he wouldn’t even allow us to touch the hand sanitizer dispenser outside of the entrance,” stated Khan.

Khan said the tests were performed in two “small rooms”.

“They took a medium sized syringe blood sample, they swabbed up our noses, and they collected sputum,” said Khan.

Khan said the concern started when they received their results.

“The results say negative but if you read the fine print it states that it might not be a good sample, and that has created serious doubt,” declared Khan.

Khan said confusion ensued when they received a Whatsapp message from doctors saying ‘they recommend’ Khan and his wife to go under quarantine.

Furthermore, Khan said he can’t understand how the media reported that Tygerberg was ready if they needed to source the Covid-19 test kits from another part of the hospital.

In response, the incoming head of the Western Cape Department of Health Dr Keith Cloete said he wanted to assure citizens of the province that it was a matter of unpredictable timing.

“That room has the stock normally but what he [Khan] experienced on that day is that a group of people  were tested before he arrived resulting in the need to fetch more kits at another section of the hospital,” reassured Cloete.

Cloete continued by saying the ‘fine print’ clause that caused confusion for Khan and his wife is a general statement or disclaimer that is used by the lab technician who tests the sample, as they have no idea how much caution is used to extract the initial sample at the hospital.

Cloete ended off by appeasing citizens that the Western Cape Health Department is indeed ready to tackle Covid-19 head-on.

“The systems are ready all round,” added Cloete.


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