Covid-19 screening welcomed by KZN informal settlement residents

“I’m happy that I was screened. I will continue staying at home and watch if I develop any of the symptoms”

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Photo of a family
Bongekile Thusi and Thoko Dlamini were among those screened for Covid-19 at the provincial launch of community screening held in Jika Joe Informal Settlement, Pietermaritzburg. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

On the weekend, Kwazulu-Natal announced that 95,952 people had been screened for Covid-19 and 480 of them tested in the province (this excludes people tested outside the community screening programme).

This is after the provincial government together with the national Department of Health launched a community screening and testing programme at Jika Joe informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg last week Thursday.

The KZN department of Health spokesperson Thando Nkosi said all districts have started screening. She said in identifying which communities to start with first, the department went to the hotspots – places where there have been traced contacts or a confirmed case of Covid-19.

Teams of health workers, identified by reflector vests and name tags, are working jointly with Community Caregivers from local areas. The home screening is done through a set of questions in English and Zulu.

A health worker said they ask if a person has travelled out of the province or has been in contact with a person who has been confirmed to be positive for Covid-19. Other questions include whether the person has experienced a fever, had difficulty breathing, or was coughing. The person is also asked if they have had a problem tasting food.

“If a person is showing some symptoms … he or she is referred to a health facility to be tested,” the health worker explained.

She said they use temperature scanners to identify people with a fever.

Jika Joe resident Bongiwe Dlamini said she was screened with her family members at the launch. “We appreciate what the government is doing by screening us,” said Dlamini.

“Some of us do stay at home, but it’s not easy. We stay and others go out as if nothing is wrong. There is an issue of hunger that is forcing people to go out and hustle. I’m happy that I was screened. I will continue staying at home and watch if I develop any of the symptoms, as the health worker has explained,” said Dlamini.

On Sunday, Zikalala announced that the Provincial Command Council (which deals with Covid-19) had decided to intensify lockdown regulations in Ethekwini district.

“We have issued a directive to our law enforcement authorities to apply the law in its strictest form and make sure there are no compromises. We want them to make sure that the violation of the lockdown by the people who are supposed to be at home is met with the concomitant punishment set out by the law,” said Zikalala.

TOPICS:  Covid-19 Health

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