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Densely populated areas a major challenge for self-isolation - WC Health Dept

The province's head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete, said that it was a big challenge to ensure the contacts of COVID-19 patients also self-isolated and kept away from their families.

Dunoon in Cape Town is one of the areas identified to be de-densified to curb the spread of coronavirus in SA. Picture: Kaylynn  Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape's head of Health has clarified that COVID-19 patients need a separate room in their homes to self-isolate.

Those who don't have the space will be placed in private or government facilities.

Patients at home also have to wear a mask and follow strict health and sanitation precautions during self-isolation.

The province's head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete, said that it was a big challenge to ensure the contacts of COVID-19 patients also self-isolated and kept away from their families.

Contact tracing teams have to assess living conditions and those who cannot self-isolate will be placed in a special facility.

Cloete said that this became a bigger challenge in densely populated informal settlements.

"The requirement would mean at least a separate room where you can separate yourself from everybody else in the dwelling to maintain at least a 2m distance at any given time, so for both these categories in densely populated areas, it becomes a challenge."

Isolation facilities will be provided by government, but for now, some private facilities are being used.

"There are arrangements for food, there's arrangement for other necessities after the person while they're there. When the numbers start getting bigger, our ability to have only private establishments is going to be under pressure. It's there that we're talking to municipalities to identify additional places as the numbers grow and then we have to put similar systems in place."

Cloete said that each case was assessed and government was preparing for any possibility.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.

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