File picture: Alexis Fotos/Pixabay
File picture: Alexis Fotos/Pixabay

Patients to be moved from Gugulethu care home after two patients, 4 staff test positive for Covid-19

By Asanda Sokanyile Time of article published May 23, 2020

Share this article:

Cape Town - Ninety-four elderly people will be

evacuated from the Ikhaya Loxolo Lase

Frail Care Centre and Home for the

Aged in Gugulethu this week.

This comes just days after employees threatened to down tools after an elderly man tested positive for the coronavirus. It is not clear where the elderly will be taken while the facility undergoes a deep clean.

The home recorded two patient cases and at least four staff members have tested positive since the outbreak.

“When the (latest) elderly man tested positive he was just chucked in a separate room and told he was in isolation. No medication was given to him, nothing. No one has been tested since, those of us who got tested went of our own accord,” expressed a health-care worker at the facility.

Management at the care facility could not be reached for comment.

Nomabhelu Dlamini, whose mother is at Ikhaya Loxolo Lase, said she was fearful her mother would die helpless and alone.

“They are not allowed visitors during this time, while it is partly understandable, it is also frustrating because they are old and frail, they have health issues and are high risk.

“They should at least be allowed to spend what could potentially be their last days with their loved ones. I am afraid one day I will receive a call telling me not only has she tested positive for the virus, but it has taken her from us,” she said.

Earlier this month, a resident at the Sen CIT Resthaven Home for the Aged in Strand succumbed to the virus while a nurse at the facility also tested positive. Meanwhile, three residents at the Nazareth House in Vredehoek who tested positive for the virus, have died.

Leon Geffen, director at the Samson Institute for Ageing Research (Sifar), said: “It is incumbent upon the Department of Social Development to immediately capacitate facilities with adequate funding and proper protective personal equipment within the next seven days or we may see matters getting worse at these care facilities.”

Geffen said only time would tell what was the most proper and best way to care for the elderly.

“Care workers who come into contact with the elderly need to be tested and screened daily, safe distance needs to be maintained. We know that if Covid-19 gets into these facilities, older adults are very vulnerable to getting coronavirus and are at a high risk of dying from it,” added Geffen.

General manager at the Ladies Christian Home Lindsay Long said earlier this week that it was not always easy to practise social distancing in the home, especially for those with dementia.

“We have created a bubble for them to live in and we try and make sure they move around in that bubble and away from the others. The elderly generally don’t do well in isolation and this has become an unkind environment for them,” she said.

The home had five positive cases, one full recovery and one in recovery.

One elder died in the early hours of yesterday but according to Long, it is yet to be determined whether she passed away from Covid-19.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said: “In line with the risk approach to case management where vulnerable communities (such as the aged) will be prioritised, the health department will conduct targeted screening and testing in old age homes in hotspot areas.”

Weekend Argus

Share this article: