Jeffreys Bay – Kouga residents can arrange to be tested for the coronavirus through their doctor – if they are displaying symptoms and have reason to believe they have been exposed to the disease.
Local medical practitioners this week confirmed that most of them are able to take the samples needed for the tests.
“While the samples can be taken locally, the testing is handled by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. This means the samples are sent away to be tested, ” a local doctor said.
“The important thing is that you must be showing symptoms, otherwise the test will come out negative.”
She said the main symptoms included a very sore throat, coughing and high temperature (38 degrees Celsius or above).
“If you have these symptoms and recently returned from an area where there have been confirmed cases of Covid-19, you are at risk and should contact your doctor to arrange for a test.
“Please phone them first so that they can take the necessary precautions to prevent their staff or other patients at the practice from potential exposure.
“It is also important to quarantine yourself until you learn the result.”
She said staying calm, practising good hygiene and avoiding unnecessary social contact and traveling were some of the best ways to avoid getting sick or spreading the disease.
“The good news is that South Africa is one of the most experienced countries in the world when it comes to handling transferable diseases. Our medical staff works with such diseases almost daily and know what they’re doing.
“The mortality rate has further been low, lower than that for normal flu, so even if you do contract Covid-19, your chances of survival are high.”
She further encouraged citizens to make use of the national hotlines that have been set up to report possible cases or access further information.
The NICD Covid-19 hotline can be contacted at 080 002 9999.
A whatsapp group has also been established to help South Africans stay informed. To join the group send the message “Hi” to 0600 123 456.
A website had further been set up with the latest info and can be visited at www.sacoronavirus.co.za.
Photo: Joey Nel