HASA calls on consumers to observe COVID-19 protocols

HASA calls on consumers to observe COVID-19 protocols

HASA calls on consumers to observe COVID-19 protocols

Since the President’s announcement on Sunday evening of a State of Disaster owing to COVID-19, channels set up for the purpose of providing information to the public on the coronavirus have been inundated with calls, while there are also reported cases of patients arriving at pathology laboratories for testing, and general practitioners and hospital emergency departments have seen an exponential rise in the number of visits they are receiving from the public.

While it is good that the public is seeking information and are thus better aware of the disease, the majority of visits to Emergency Departments and calls to hotlines are having the unintended consequence of clogging the system and taking resources away from those in urgent need of healthcare. It is important, therefore, for the public to know the following:

Do not ask for tests for the virus if you are not presenting the identified symptoms. No symptoms? Do not test.

If you do present a combination of the following symptoms, particularly if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, by all means, seek to be tested by calling your General Practitioner for information, by calling your local hospital, or by calling the number 0800 029 999:

  • Chills, and
  • Coughs and sore throat, and
  • Headaches, and
  • Muscular pain, and
  • Fever, and most importantly,
  • Difficulty breathing.

It is critical that hospital infrastructure and staff attention is reserved for those who require treatment. Please stringently observe social distancing in the national effort to contain the disease and to break the chain of transmission.

Additionally, there appears to be a misunderstanding as to the treatment process that will be employed for those infected.

  • Remember, there is no cure. There is only supportive treatment for those who have difficulty breathing or who have fevers.
  • Infected patients will not automatically be admitted to hospital.
  • Infected patients will be sent home after testing and will be asked to self-monitor and home-quarantine.
  • Only patients who urgently require medical assistance will be admitted to hospital.

Finally, we are entering the influenza season and many of us may contract the common cold. In the current climate, many people may mistake the common cold or a bout of flu for COVID-19. Your General Practitioner is best placed to help you make the distinction if you are not sure and to give you advice.

For more information, please use the following web site: http://www.nicd.ac.za.

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