Home News Covid-19: NC to deploy 2 000 contact tracers

Covid-19: NC to deploy 2 000 contact tracers

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The tracers will be utilised in the Northern Cape to find people who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19).

AROUND 2 000 tracers will be utilised in the Northern Cape to find people who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19).

This is according to the MEC for Health, Mase Manopole, who on Tuesday visited the Sassa pay point at the Upington post office.

Manopole said that there were already about 500 agents out in the field. “We need to increase the number of tracers to about 2 000, in line with the president’s call for the Province to avail agents who will conduct home screenings.

“The screening of people is not the same as tracing. When people get screened, they are asked basic questions about their health and whereabouts. Not everyone who gets screened has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.”

Manopole said the department would inform residents timeously when agents are dispatched to the streets.

“We will relay all necessary information about the agents to all residents. We will issue all agents with regalia so that members of the public can identify them,” she said.

Manopole meanwhile denounced reports that there were patients in the Province who had tested positive for Covid-19  and had since been healed from the virus as false.

“We currently have six Covid-19 cases in the Northern Cape. There are no reports that any of those patients have been healed. There is also no report of an increase in that number,” she said.

Manopole further urged all residents to give their support and adhere to the regulations imposed.

“We are facing a war and we all need to do our part. We all want our lives to return to ‘normal’ but that can only happen once we all obey the rules implemented,” she said.

Manopole also visited Doctor Harry Surtie Hospital to observe if health employees were following the right safety procedures.

She briefly addressed health staff who were conducting screenings of visitors and patients at the gate of the facility.

Health workers indicated to her that they were experiencing challenges with residents who refused to co-operate as well as others who demanded protective gear from them.

“Some people have become angry to the extent that they become violent in their demands for masks and gloves from us. We were told that we would work in partnership with the police but they are not present. The only time we see the police is when there are meetings being held. Another challenge is that we cannot screen people who drive into the premises. Those people just enter without being screened,” they said.

Manopole assured them that she would address the challenges raised.

Meanwhile, hundreds of elderly people in Upington were given the flu vaccine to boost their immune systems.

Older persons, who gave their consent to be vaccinated, were injected with the vaccine as they were collecting their social grant payments on Tuesday.

Manopole, who visited the pay point at the Upington post office, said the vaccine was not issued as a precaution for Covid-19 but rather to assist the immune systems of the elderly as winter was approaching.

“The winter season is approaching and we do not want our old people to get sick. Our elderly people have vulnerable immune systems and some are sickly. The vaccine is just to assist their bodies fight the flu. It is not a prevention or cure for coronavirus. There is currently no cure for coronavirus,” said Manopole.