Testing for Covid-19

Testing for Covid-19

Many residents of Mkhondo and South Africa are unclear about what prosedure to follow when they suspect that they might have Covid-19.

South Africans will be under 21-day lockdown from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020

Remember that at this stage testing in South Africa is only available to patients who have been assessed by their doctor or healthcare provider and determined to require a COVID-19 test. These patients must meet the COVID-19 case criteria which indicate that they:

  • Have a severe acute respiratory illness, with fever or history of fever and cough with pneumonia, or
  • Have acute respiratory distress syndrome (based on the clinical signs or X-ray findings) that requires you to be admitted to hospital.
  • Have a documented travel history to any country where COVID-19 has occurred within 14 days before symptoms started.
  • Have had close physical contact with a person with COVID-19 while they had symptoms
  • Have had close contact with patients with severe acute respiratory infections
  • Specifically if you are a healthcare professional dealing with patients who have severe acute respiratory infections and where the cause of the patients’ symptoms has not been confirmed.

SA Coronavirus Website Information

If you suspect that you have COVID-19 and require non-urgent medical care, contact your doctor telephonically to allow them to assess your level of risk for the COVID-19 virus. They will guide you as to what to do next.

COVID-19 is diagnosed by a laboratory test called a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) molecular test. The test investigates a sample taken from a patient’s respiratory tract – nose, throat or chest. All requests for tests must be facilitated by healthcare professionals. No private individual can approach a pathology lab and ask for a test to be done.

Your healthcare provider will send your sample to one of the following labs for assessment:

  • Pathcare
  • Ampath
  • Lancet
  • Vermaak and Partners Pathologists

Also Read: Panic buying not the answer

Testing is critical in order for infected people to get the necessary treatment and for health officials to accurately track the spread of the virus. We need to ensure that we use the test kits responsibly and for the really sick.

You don’t need be tested if:

  • You have no symptoms.
  • You are just looking for reassurance. There is a shortage of test kits, so we want to ensure that the right people get tested.
  • You think you were in contact with a contact who has Coronavirus. “Contacts of contacts” don’t need to be tested.

If you are feeling very ill and need care immediately, call emergency services or go to the emergency department at your nearest healthcare facility.

  • Call the emergency services or department telephonically BEFORE your arrival that you have, suspect you have or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.
  • Put on a face mask before you enter the emergency transport or healthcare facility.

Please stay at home during the nationwide lockdown. This is not the time to visit friends and relatives. To prevent the spread of this virus, all South Africans must work together.

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