Johannesburg Health District Managers have been busy over the last two weeks working on a standard approach to managing COVID-19 at a primary care level in urban Africa. The patient information sheet below is in draft after the overall plans for Jhb have been adopted. Feel free to add comments to this draft patient information sheet here before it gets finalised this Monday.
Dear patient / community member
This is advice to you from your government clinic
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM WELL?
- Don’t panic: 82% of patients will experience mild symptoms of cough, fever and sore throat. Our concerns are the 20% who will need hospital admissions because of the short breath. Only 1-4% may die but mostly because too many people get sick too quickly. Hence the governments emphasis on people staying at home.
- Please remember that health care workers are most at risk. Don’t crowd the clinics unnecessarily. Allow health care workers to attend to the sickest.
- If you are well then you don’t need a mask. Just use good cough/sneeze etiquette (into your elbow), avoid touching eyes, ears and nose, and wash your hands regularly and properly with water and soap (or use sanitizer (with more 70% alcohol) when no water is available) especially after touching public surfaces e.g. handrails, handles etc. Good handwashing takes 20 seconds.
- If YOU are sick, in close contact with someone who is sick, or in closed spaces for more than 15 minutes (e.g. taxi’s, buses and trains) then use a scarf or home-made mask (that you can wash daily with Jik) over your mouth and nose.
- Avoid handshakes, hugging or any other close contact with other people.
- Avoid travel (even locally) and people who have travelled in the last 14 days.
- Avoid large gatherings e.g. funerals, parties, weddings etc. especially if you have travelled in the last 14 days or are sick.
- If you are on chronic medicines, ask the doctor/nurse to give you medicines for longer so that you don’t need to come to the clinic as often
- You can also keep abreast of the news by texting “Hi” to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp or checking on the website https://sacoronavirus.co.za .
- If you have HIV and are not on ARVs then you might get corona virus easily as your immune system may be weak! We encourage everyone to test for HIV if they have never tested.
- Your community leaders are being involved in the response by your clinic, ask them.
- Community Health Workers will visit and try to keep you informed. Please work with them.
WHAT DO I DO IF HAVE FLU?
- If you have travelled in the last 14 days and have the flu first call the NICD public hotline 0800 029 999 for advice.
- If you have a mild flu (and have not travelled in the last 14 days), then stay at home. Remember that you are more likely to get corona virus from the clinic than at home. Call the NICD public hotline 0800 029 999 for advice, if you need or get tips from WhatsApp 0600 123 456 (Hi).
- You can ask someone to get a flu pack available at the clinic gate. This includes Panado that you can take 1-2 tabs (adult)/5-20ml (child) every 4hrs for fever/pains, Allergex that you can take 1 tab (adult)/5-10ml (child) three times a day for runny nose and Vitamin BCO that you can take 1tab/5-10ml daily for strength.
- At home you should stay in your own room (alone or one metre from others), keeping warm but opening windows to allow air in), covering your face with a scarf or mask when moving around in the house and also washing your hands regularly to protect your family. You should also avoid sharing cutlery, crockery and towels with your family. Your family members should wear a mask or scarf if they are caring for you or coming into your room.
WHAT IF THE FLU GETS WORSE?
- While you are at with the flu watch out for worsening symptoms: if the fever does not settle in 3-5 days and/or there is shortness of breath and/or there is severe weakness. If this happens then come to the clinic but come with your face covered with a scarf or mask.
- Please keep a written list of all your recent travels and all the people you had contact with as soon as you get sick with flu. Report on it if you go to the clinic or call the NICD public hotline 08000029999.
- When you come to the clinic you will be stopped at the gate to check if anyone is coughing and those very ill or at risk will be prioritized. Please comply with this checking.
- You will be directed to a temporary chest clinic where you will be assessed by health care workers who will be wearing appropriate protection. Don’t wander around the clinic.
Keep well, keep safe!
Gauteng District Health Services