KNYSNA NEWS - With the number of people infected by Covid-19 increasing and Knysna recently being named a hotspot area, some residents are worried about quarantine sites when the need arises.
One local, Mncedisi Mpini, said he lives in a shack and if one of his family members tests positive it will be easy to infect others. "This is the life we are living, we don't have enough rooms to self-isolate as we share the same space," he said.
According to municipal spokesperson Christopher Bezuidenhout, there is only one quarantine facility in the Garden Route District at the moment. "The dedicated site is PetroSA in Mossel Bay. It can accommodate up to 700 people and currently there is no-one from Knysna quarantined at the said facility. Once Petro SA exceeds capacity, Public Works will look into availing more facilities," he said.
Far from family
But for resident Siyabulela Chitha, this is not an option. "This means I will be far from my family… I will rather stay here with my family than go to Mossel Bay," he said.
Community organisation Knysna United chairperson, Ralph Stander, highlighted the fact that poor people living in small spaces simply cannot self-isolate. "I don't think much is being done for poor people. If you are living in a shack, a backyard dwelling or a small house in the location, self-isolation is not possible. This happens where people have their big houses and the people in our locations don't have big homes," he said.
Department of Health spokesperson Nadia Ferreira confirmed that the only Garden Route District isolation and quarantine facility is at the PetroSA West Camp site in Mossel Bay.
"Patients who are unable to isolate or quarantine at home are able to do so at West Camp in a comfortable and secure environment. Patients from all over the district are accommodated there," she said. "More facilities will be announced, if and when the need arises or capacity is exceeded at PetroSA. We currently have 53 people in isolation."
What to expect
Ferreira listed what patients can expect at such a facility: transport to and from the facility, a room and access to a bathroom, regular meals, having to monitor and report your symptoms, staying in touch with your loved ones using your own phone, cleaning your own room, availability of a laundry facility, rules to protect other guests and staff e.g. not leaving your room, and advice from your health and social worker on returning home. No visitors, alcohol or drugs will be allowed.
Patients must take the following items with them to the isolation or quarantine site: their favourite snack or treats, clothes and pyjamas, toothbrush, toothpaste and other toiletries, towels, face cloths and soap. A phone charger if they have a phone, chronic medication, something that reminds them of their loved ones e.g family photos, books, magazines or crafts.
Ferreira also gave the distinction between isolation and quarantine: isolation refers to those with mild to moderate symptoms, where they can recover from Covid-19 (usually 14 days), while quarantine is for people awaiting test results.
On Monday, Ferreira confirmed that Knysna had 142 cases and 89 recoveries at the time. "Four people have died of Covid-19 in Knysna and there are currently 44 patients admitted in public and private hospitals, with five in ICU in the Garden Route."
A total of 121 095 people had been screened and 635 referred for testing by Monday.
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