Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19 cases reported at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Jun 29, 2020

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Pretoria -  The Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University on Monday said it was alerted that one of its students living at the university-leased student accommodation had tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19). 

“This is our first student Covid-19 confirmed case. Contact tracing was done immediately. According to the infected student, who moved into the private residence on Friday 26 June 2020 while awaiting her results for a Covid-19 test done back home, only two students had been in close contact with her since her arrival.

"The university management further received another report that three final year physiotherapy students staying at other off-campus residences and one on-campus residence could have been exposed to a professional nurse who recently tested positive for Covid-19 at Dr George Mukhari Hospital [in Pretoria].”

The university said one of its security personnel had also tested positive for the virus. 

“One security officer who has been on leave since 21 June 2020 informed us yesterday (Sunday) that she had tested positive after exposure to an infected household member and would continue self isolation at home. All those who were in contact with her on that day will be requested to self-quarantine and would be monitored for any symptoms over the coming one week,” the university said.

It said that the student who tested positive and the other five students who were in close contact with exposed persons had been placed in isolation and quarantine respectively at the Midrand Eskom Academy of Learning, sponsored by the Gauteng department of health. 

As of Sunday, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa was 138,134, with 6,334 new cases identified. Forty-three new Covid-19-related deaths were reported, bringing the total to 2,456, health minister Zweli Mkhize said.

"We are seeing a rapid rise in the cumulative number of positive Covid-19 cases indicating that, as we had expected, we are approaching a surge during the latter winter months of July and August," he said.

It was anticipated that while every province would witness an increase in their numbers, areas with high economic activity would experience an exponential rise, beginning with Gauteng and the Western Cape and followed by the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

"We believe that within the coming days, Gauteng will emerge with the highest Covid-19 numbers. Factors contributing to this trend are inward migration, the large population (especially in metros like Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, and Tshwane), increased congregating which spurs cluster outbreaks, and the level to which people are able to adapt to new behaviours such as social distancing and the wearing of masks.

"We have identified the need to increase Covid-19 hospital beds in this province and we will be supporting the province to ensure that they are capacitated to meet the rising demands," he said.

In addition to regular hand washing, physical distancing, and the correct wearing of masks at all times, early case detection, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation were the key armaments in the toolbox to break the cycle of infection. The province was being engaged to strengthen its contact tracing and quarantine/isolation uptake.

- African News Agency; Editing by Desiree Erasmus 

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