Home News 11 Yonder residents test positive for Covid-19

11 Yonder residents test positive for Covid-19

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According to the chief executive officer (CEO) of Yonder, Jannie van Zyl, one of the hostel residents is currently in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital

Eleven people at Yonder have tested positive for Covid-19. Picture: Soraya Crowie

ELEVEN hostel residents from Yonder, a centre for adults with intellectual disabilities in Kimberley, have tested positive for Covid-19.

According to the chief executive officer (CEO) of Yonder, Jannie van Zyl, one of the hostel residents is currently in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital.

Van Zyl said that three residents were admitted to hospital and two had already been discharged.

“We have 11 active cases of Covid-19 with three people who were admitted to hospital. Two of the three hospitalised residents were discharged yesterday (Tuesday). The one resident is currently in the Covid-19 unit of the hospital. He, however, was not admitted due to Covid-19 but for another symptom. It was only when he was tested in hospital that his test came back positive.

“The first resident was admitted on around August 28 and about two or three days later the other one was admitted. Those two have since been discharged and are currently staying in our isolation house which we had set up should there be any cases. We set up the house when the lockdown was announced. That house is equipped with oxygen tanks and other medical equipment as well as resources,” said Van Zyl.

He added that they are still trying to trace how the virus managed to creep onto the premises.

“We have 12 hostels and several staff members as well as health care workers. One of the health care workers reported that she had tested positive for Covid-19. We did not panic as we already had regulations in place by closing off movement at the residences as well as on the premises. We have private residents who are renting some of the houses and these people are prohibited movement to the hostels and our hostel residents are also not allowed to move to those areas of the premises.

“We even prohibited movement and visitation amongst the hostels. Currently there is only one hostel that is affected and only the persons staying at that hostel are affected. When the first case was reported, we requested officials from the Health Department to screen and test all staff and residents.

“None of the residents showed any symptoms or had a high temperature. It was a shock when we heard from the department that there were 11 people who were tested as nobody was sick,” Van Zyl said.

He added that they had also set up their own incubation camp to assist those who have to quarantine.

“We have converted the entertainment hall into a quarantine site. Those who tested positive for the virus are currently staying inside the hall. We have equipped the hall with 20 beds just in case the number may rise. We have a clinical nurse and two health care workers who are monitoring and assisting those in quarantine.

“Those in quarantine are still not showing any signs or symptoms. We are, however, keeping them there to contain the spread.”

Van Zyl said three personnel members are also currently in self-isolation at home.

“After we had all employees tested, we sent them home. We were then informed that three employees had also tested positive. Those employees are currently at home. They also did not show any signs or symptoms to suspect that they had contracted the virus. They are also making good progress at home.”

He added that the centre had put many regulations in place to curb the spread and another outbreak at the other hostels.

“We closed the centre a week prior to lockdown. We also closed all workshops. Since we are a centre for intellectual disabled persons we have taught our residents through role-play about the new Covid-19 regulations. We showed through role-playing the importance of washing hands, continuous sanitising, wearing of masks and social-distancing. They have adapted well to this new lifestyle and have implemented it well.

“It is challenging as they now have limited movement and no visitation from their friends from the other hostels. We also ensured that everyone got flu injections as a precaution the moment we heard about the outbreak in the country. People are also not allowed to come onto the premises unless they have an appointment. We now order our food and it gets delivered. We first disinfect the food and keep it in storage,” Van Zyl said.

He said that the new way of life had been costly.

“We had to ensure that we provide all employees and residents with the required personal protective equipment (PPE). We also had to supply hostels with sanitisers and gloves. That has been hefty on our pocket as we had to close our workshops and pay for everything from our pocket,” he said.

He added that they had since, Level 2, reopened the workshop, but with limited manpower.

“We need to generate an income as we are faced with the danger of our income drying up. We do, however, practise the Covid-19 regulations,” he said.