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Free Covid-19 tests at public facilities

File picture: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

File picture: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Published Mar 17, 2020

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Cape Town – Contrary to speculation, there is no cost involved in testing for Covid-19 at public health facilities.

However, in order to have the test done, you need to present flu-like symptoms; have a recent international travel history to an area where there was a person-to-person transmission; or have come in contact with a confirmed case.

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Health Department spokesperson Popo Maja said: “If you go to a public sector facility, the test is free, unless one is on medical aid. If you get private healthcare, it is R1 200 to R1 400 per test.”

Provincial health spokesperson Mark van der Heever said should people meet the case definition, they should call their nearest health facility to set up an appointment.

He said Tygerberg and Mitchells Plain hospitals, and other facilities, were designated to tackle the virus

“The actual taking of the test can be done at their nearest facility and sent to the National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD). 

"The patient will be advised to self-isolate at home until the results return, which takes between 24-48 hours,” he said.

The department confirmed 16 cases in the province yesterday.

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“It is advisable for you to stay at home and self-isolate if you display the symptoms of Covid-19 (cough, fever, sore throat) combined with an international travel history or if you came into contact with a confirmed case. 

"Contact the Hotline on 0800 029 999. They will advise you on the next steps. For Western Cape citizens struggling to get through to the Hotline an alternative number has been set up to assist local citizens with health-related information on Covid-19 - 021 928 4102,” it said.

Van der Heever said they had also received notifications of criminals who are allegedly taking advantage of the coronavirus.

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“We advise the public that there are no door-to-door tests being conducted and such activity should be reported to the police,” he said.

Mayco member for community services Zahid Badroodien said primary care clinics are not yet testing clients for Covid-19.

“We would like to reassure our residents that the City is working closely with the lead agencies involved, to ensure a co-ordinated and effective response, if required. 

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"We do ask that the public please take cognisance of the key prevention messages around hand-washing, but also prevent the transmission of germs when coughing or sneezing if you have a cold. 

"We’ve also seen a run on items like hand sanitiser in stores, but soap - when correctly used - is actually more effective,” he said.

Cape Times

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