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Lockdown toolkit: What you need to know should you test positive for COVID-19

Here's your toolkit on what to do should you test positive for the coronavirus.

Picture: 123rf

JOHANNESBURG - Finding out you have tested positive for coronavirus can be a difficult thing to deal with.

But, it doesn't have to be a terrifying ordeal - with the right information and proper care.

Here's your toolkit on what to do should you test positive.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU TEST POSITIVE?

Your healthcare provider (your GP or local clinic) is primarily responsible for your care. However, you may be called, visited at home or advised by government officials, community health workers or by the NICD. Once you have confirmed coronavirus disease, the purpose of this contact is to assess if your home environment is suitable for isolation, to assist you and members of your household adhere to the home isolation recommendations and to monitor your illness.

Your healthcare provider, government officials or NICD will also ask you to make a list of all the people you have had close contact with from 2 days before you became ill. These people will also be required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days and monitor themselves for symptoms.

Other members of your household (who are considered among your close contacts) will only have specimens collected for laboratory testing if they develop symptoms consistent with coronavirus disease.

Have your healthcare provider’s contact information on hand for emergencies.

Most people who get sick with coronavirus disease will have only a mild illness and should recover at home. You may continue to experience the typical symptoms which include a fever, cough and mild shortness of breath. Most people with mild illness will start feeling better within a week of the first symptoms. Have your healthcare provider’s contact information on hand for emergencies – this could be your GP or your nearest local clinic/ hospital.

Get rest at home and drink enough water/ clear fluids during the day to make sure that your urine stays a pale clear colour. There are no specific antiviral treatments recommended for coronavirus disease. You can take over-the-counter medications if you have fever or pain. Use these according to the instructions on the packet or label and do not exceed the recommended dose. You should continue taking any other prescribed chronic medication.

Monitor your symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider immediately. If you develop any emergency warning signs, get medical attention immediately.

Emergency warning signs include: trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure in your chest that does not go away, coughing up blood, becoming confused, severe sleepiness, blue lips or face. If you have any warning signs, you or a member of your household should call your nearest hospital or emergency services immediately and notify them that you have confirmed coronavirus disease. Avoid taking public transport to the facility – either use private transport (preferably with windows rolled-down) or call emergency services for an ambulance if required. You should wear a face mask if you travel to seek hospital care.

Clean your sick room/area every day, first using regular household soap and then after rinsing, using regular household disinfectant containing 0.5% sodium hypochlorite (make this using 1 part 5% bleach to 9 parts water).

If someone else cleans your sick room/area, they should use personal protective equipment including single-use or utility gloves and a plastic apron while cleaning.

If you have a home carer, your carer should adhere to home-based infection control recommendations, including use of personal protective equipment.

Do not share eating utensils, towels, bedding with others in your household.

Shared spaces should be well ventilated. If a fan is available, point it out of one window and keep another window open to facilitate increased air exchange in the room.

SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES

  • Do not leave your house unless it’s essential.

  • Do not attend school or classes as of Wednesday, 18 March until after Easter.

  • Do not attend gatherings of more than 100 people

  • Greet people using your elbows or feet.

  • Keep your house as clean as possible and disinfect utensils, surfaces, floors and furniture.

  • Avoid using the same utensils and bathroom facilities as a sick person.

  • Make sure you disinfect your bathroom area as droplets can be transmitted.

  • Open windows and doors to let fresh air inside at all times.

  • Avoid going out to restaurants, clubs, malls and other public spaces.

  • Check on your loved ones through social media and your smartphone.

  • Hold out on any non-essential physical socialising like going on a date or partying with friends.

  • Cancel any playdates and playground time for the kids.

HOW TO FLATTEN THE CURVE AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT

The “curve” refers to the projected number of people who will contract COVID-19 over a period of time.

A steep curve means an over-burdened health system.

The curve takes on different shapes, depending on the virus’s infection rate. It could be a steep curve, in which the virus spreads aggressively. In this case, counts keep doubling at a consistent rate & the total number of cases skyrocket to peak within a few weeks.

Infection curves with a steep rise also have a steep fall. After the virus infects pretty much everyone who can be infected, case numbers begin to drop quickly too.

The faster the infection curve rises, the quicker health care system will get overloaded beyond its capacity to treat people.