Gauteng residents urged not to fear quarantine facilities nearby

Living close to a quarantine facility does not increase one's risk of contracting the coronavirus, the Gauteng department of health said on Monday.
Living close to a quarantine facility does not increase one's risk of contracting the coronavirus, the Gauteng department of health said on Monday.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

Gauteng's health department on Monday moved to allay fears of citizens living near quarantine sites that they are not at risk of being infected with Covid-19.

Spokesperson Kwara Kekana said the department had noted concerns raised by community members where quarantine sites were based. 

“We wish to reiterate that the Covid-19 virus is not airborne and is spread mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, in the same way influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread,” she said. 

The majority of those who tested positive for the virus had come into close physical contact with people who were already infected, she added. 

Quarantine sites are community-based facilities meant to accommodate people who are not ill but have come into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.

“The sites also serve to host those that test positive but cannot quarantine at home. Once people are cleared of the coronavirus after waiting for a minimum period of 14 days and have undergone testing, they are then released back in their community,” said Kekana. 

She reiterated that not all people at a quarantine site have Covid-19, adding that the sites adhered to strict infection management control to avoid spreading the virus. People under investigation are tested and kept under individual quarantine to avoid infections.

“Quarantine sites pose no risk to the community, in the same way that hospitals and clinics that are located in communities pose no harm to society.”

A map is used to regulate the movement of staff to limit interaction in high-risk areas.

“They observe infection prevention control measures, which include the creation of a map of the facility demarcating the red, yellow and green zones to outline the details of movement of healthcare and other personnel around the quarantine area and in the building.” 

The facilities are monitored by trained security personnel to avoid the entry of unauthorised persons, while personnel have been trained in the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), she added.

“We therefore implore communities that have quarantine sites in their midst not to ostracise these critical facilities and people who work or are attached to the facilities, which form a key part of the strategy to fight the spread of this pandemic for the benefit of all communities in the province.”


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