Covid Virus Information
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
The virus is very susceptible to common anti-bacterial cleaning agents such as bleach, and alcohol-based cleaners (60% volume). Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands.
Self-isolation is a way to keep yourself from possibly infecting others if you think you might be infected. It involves limiting contact with public places, relatives, friends, colleagues, and public transport.
The symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever. However, these are also symptoms of the flu. The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) recommends that you should only get tested if you display symptoms plus:
If you think you might have contracted the virus, you can call the NICD helpline (0800 029 999) and you will be advised on possible testing facilities. However, testing is not routinely done unless testing is indicated by a health professional therefore one would need to be assessed by your medical practitioner in order to qualify for testing.
Anyone who tests positive will immediately be notified and put into isolation at home or at a facility designated to manage the outbreak. You will then remain in isolation until repeat testing shows you no longer have the virus.
Public sector testing is free of charge. Private laboratories such as Lancet, Ampath and Pathcare can also test for SARS-CoV-2. Enquiry should be with the respective laboratory for their costing of the test. If going via a private lab, it is advisable to check with your medical aid to ascertain if they will cover the costs for the test.
There is no specific treatment available for SARS-CoV-2. Treatment is supportive (e.g. providing oxygen for patients with shortness of breath or managing a fever). Antibiotics do not treat viral infections. However, antibiotics may be required if a secondary bacterial infection develops. Currently there is a vaccine being developed.
The following hospitals have also been identified as centres for isolation and treatment of people infected with Coronavirus:
Polokwane Hospital in Limpopo;
Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mpumalanga;
Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, Steve Biko Hospital and Tembisa Hospitals in Gauteng;
Grace Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal;
Klerksdorp Hospital in the North West;
Kimberly Hospital in the Northern Cape;
Pelonomi Hospital in the Free State;
Livingstone Hospital in the Eastern Cape; and
Tygerberg Hospital in the Western Cape.
Anyone who is sick or displaying symptoms should not go to work. If you have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of close contact. If you are concerned, contact your medical practitioner for further advice.