On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the coronavirus pandemic a national disaster. At least 62 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and more tests are currently underway. The president says the country is now dealing with the internal transmission of the virus. But what should you do if you think you have the virus?
1. Establish whether you meet the clinical guidelines for the virus.
Doctors will be looking for the symptoms of COVID-19 which commonly are a high fever, shortness of breath, and respiratory complaints. Severe respiratory infections have been reported and have resulted in severe, acute respiratory syndrome, renal failure and death.
These symptoms must have no other cause to fully explain the illness and the person must have a history of travel or residence in an area with local transmission of COVID-19 or have had contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.
The contact must have occurred within 14 days prior to the onset of the symptoms.Contact” with an infected person is defined as staying in close proximity to a person with COVID-19, this includes a workplace, classroom, household or attending a gathering. Contact can also refer to travelling within 1m of a person with COVID-19 and providing direct care without protective equipment to someone with COVID-19.
Patients who have been referred with a severe, acute respiratory infection, requiring hospitalisation and there is no other cause explaining the illness also qualify for a test.
2. Contact your healthcare provider
Once you have established you have the symptoms of the virus, contact your healthcare provider to allow them to prepare to see you.
@nicd_sa , @nhls_sa and private laboratories have conducted a total of 2 405 tests to date. As of 16 March 2020, we confirm an additional 11 new #COVID19 positive cases. This brings the country to a total of 62 confirmed COVID-19 cases. https://t.co/hqhT3w7Nok pic.twitter.com/EDmfMCjkYB
— NICD (@nicd_sa) March 16, 2020
If you pay for private healthcare and are obtaining a test for COVID-19 from a private laboratory, you must have a referral from a doctor. Lancet laboratories have said they will prioritise tests for individuals who fulfil the epidemiological and clinical case definitions. A list of Lancet laboratories who are able to test for the disease is available on their website.
There are laboratories in every province including three drive-thru testing sites in Gauteng and the Free State. Lancet stated the turn around time for test results is 48 hours from the time of receipt at the molecular lab in Johannesburg.
– Coronavirus Hotline Number: 0800 029 999 from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday Help protect your loved ones by sharing this official South African government COVID-19 service with your family, friends and community. Send HI to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp.
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