Cape Town - The first round of the vaccine roll-out as part of the Johnson & Johnson/ Sisonke implementation study has been completed in the province, with further metros and rural areas being targeted this week.
The first round of vaccinations focused on the Cape Town metro with health-care workers, both public and private, taking up the vaccine at four sites – Khayelitsha District Hospital and Groote Schuur, Tygerberg and Karl Bremer hospitals.
This week, Gatesville Melomed Hospital will be the first dedicated private vaccination site for health-care workers in the private sector.
Health-care workers in the rural areas, both private and public, can now also take up the vaccine at three sites – Worcester, Paarl and George hospitals.
The provincial Health Department said the Western Cape had been allocated 13 068 vaccines which arrived at the weekend, and will be delivered in two separate batches. Of this, 2 560 will be distributed to rural areas.
“Since we are receiving several deliveries of the vaccine, the department has introduced sequencing to ensure equitable access, and that the most vulnerable and most at risk health-care workers are vaccinated first,” the department stated.
“According to this sequencing, vaccines will be allocated pro-rata per number of staff per facility. Within these allocations, further prioritisation will take place, taking into account individual vulnerability by age; individual vulnerability due to comorbidities; risk of exposure (patient-facing versus non-patient-facing staff); and criticality of setting (eg working in critical care, Covid wards etc)”
By yesterday, the Western Cape had 3 482 active Covid-19 infections with a total of 275 465 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 260 786 recoveries.
A total of 13 415 vaccines had been administered by 5pm on Monday.
Meanwhile, although there is no evidence of Covid-19 transmission from a corpse, it is still possible, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). It said it had encouraged family members to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, when handling a body.
In answering questions related to what to do when burying a loved one, the NICD said an undertaker should remove the body.
“You will have to let the undertaker know that your loved one had Covid19 so that they can ensure everyone’s safety,” the institute said. “Once the undertaker has taken their body, wash your loved one’s bed linen and remaining clothing items at a high temperature, and wipe down all surfaces and possessions with sanitiser, bleach or disinfectant. Remember to wear gloves and a mask while doing this.”
If a loved one was in hospital, the NICD said family members would be entitled to their belongings if they wished to have them.
“If desired, you may retrieve the belongings of a loved one who has died of Covid-19 outside their home (for example, in a hospital setting). Depending on local rules and regulations, family members may retrieve these belongings at the funeral home or the health-care facility.
“You should use gloves and practise good hand hygiene when handling your loved ones’ belongings. If removing personal possessions (such as wedding rings) from the body or casket, clean and disinfect the items and wash hands right away.”