Sister Louisa Fynn is one of the health workers dedicated to providing care to Covid-19 patients isolated at Addington Hospital.
Sister Louisa Fynn is one of the health workers dedicated to providing care to Covid-19 patients isolated at Addington Hospital.

Lockdown in SA: Meet some of the heroes on the frontline of SA's coronavirus fight

By Tribune reporter Time of article published Mar 29, 2020

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Every day thousands of workers put their lives at risk to provide essential services. These men and women leave their homes in an effort to flatten the curve of the Covid-19 pandemic and provide a crucial and necessary services, while the rest of the country is in isolation. It is at this time that the worth of the ‘essential services’ workers is highlighted, turning ordinary workers into heroes.

The nurse

Sister Louisa Fynn is one of the health workers dedicated to providing care to Covid-19 patients isolated at Addington.

The hospital is one of four designated treatment centres in the province. So far, nine patients have received medical care at the hospital’s isolation ward.

The last born of five sisters who are all registered nurses, Fynn said choosing to be a nurse was an answer to a calling. She said when she broke the news to her family that she would be working with Covid-19 patients, they all understood.

“My family was not very concerned, but again, I was a nurse before I met my family.”

Fynn said coming into contact with patients was scary at first, but she soon got used to it because her protective gear kept her safe.

“I realised that I was well protected and my seniors had prepared me very well for this. I attended training for a period of over a month and told myself that I am going in there full gear and am going to be fine,” she said.

“The most important thing is to use your personal protective equipment to protect yourself, the patient, and make sure that they are isolated and that they are not cross-infecting others.”

Fynn said she was confident the country would beat the virus, but it was everyone’s responsibility to adhere to the regulations in place.

“Our president and the health department have been sending out educational messages continuously of how we should all be taking care of ourselves. Please wash your hands regularly, wear your protective gear, sanitise and keep a safe distance.”

The metro police captain

Durban metro police captain Dumisani Zondi will be at the forefront of ensuring that motorists respect the 21-day lockdown which came into effect on Friday.

Zondi, 41, who was busy with other police officers searching vehicles at the roadblock on Pixley Ka Seme Street yesterday, said when he joined the service, he was aware of the challenges that came with his duties.

He said although he feared contracting the dreaded Covid-19 virus, he was driven and prepared to make the required sacrifice to fulfil his obligations as a police officer.

Zondi, from uMlazi, said he ensured that each police vehicle had a bottle of sanitiser and a box of hand gloves as part of compliance.

“I pray every morning because I understand the risk that lies ahead, but saving lives comes first. I also have support from my wife,” he said.

Zondi said dealing with motorists during lockdown was challenging because some were not keen on obeying instructions. He said some displayed ignorance, while others failed to produce permits.

Zondi said he had never seen such panic before.

The cashier

While the nation went into a government-enforced lockdown this week, supermarkets and grocery stores will remain open for the business of supplying food and other essential items.

Cashiers like Nozipho Ndlovu will be expected to interact with hundreds of shoppers amid the growing coronavirus infection rate in the country.

Having endured the days leading up to the lockdown, where grocery stores were besieged by throngs of panic-buying individuals, Ndlovu was now bracing herself for the next three weeks.

She works as a cashier at the Engen Mitchell Park Service Station, which also has a Woolworths food store.

The outlet is expected to trade 24/7, throughout the lockdown period.

For Ndlovu’s and the customers’ benefit, a large, clearly labelled bottle of hand sanitiser, a bottle of detergent and hand wipes were placed near her work station.

But before customers entered the store, another staff member ensured their temperatures were checked and hands were sanitised.

In spite of the various measures in place to block Covid-19 infection at her workplace, Ndlovu was alive to the dangers of the virus.

“We have families to go to after each working day. Imagine if we get infected and passed the virus to our children or elderly parents? It is a terrifying thought,” said Ndlovu.

The petrol attendant

If it were up to Vivian Cele, she would have preferred to be home with her four school-going children during the 21 days of lockdown, which began on Friday.

But it’s not a privilege Cele, 36, a petrol attendant, can afford.

Even though attending work at the Engen garage on Sparks Road, Overport, could lead to Cele contracting the dreaded Covid-19 virus, she is driven and prepared to make the required sacrifice for her family.

“I am concerned about my safety, but I also know that my children are depending on me,” she said.

About staying coronavirus-free, Cele said she practised good hygiene, and armed with a bottle of sanitiser, she used it each time she received payments from customers.

She usually travelled to work from her home on Howell Road, Sydenham, by taxi, but due to regular service being affected by the lockdown, Cele said she would use an Uber, even though it would impact her budget.

She was not certain whether her hours of each shift would be reduced.

“It is a difficult time to be at work, but I’m happy that I still have the opportunity to earn."

Sunday Tribune

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