Gauteng plans ward-based Covid-19 response team to focus on hot spots


Gauteng is set to start a ward-based Covid-19 response team as part of its strategy to tackle hot spots.

This as the province upscales its strategy in the communities where it thinks there is no compliance.

This was revealed during the provincial command council weekly briefing on Thursday.

During the briefing, Premier David Makhura said while hot spots had started in the suburbs when it first hit the province, they were now moving to CBDs and townships.

The province had previously raised the concern of increasing cases in townships.

Makhura said Gauteng was sitting on 2,400 confirmed cases, 1,729 recoveries and 27 deaths.

Of those, 644 were active.

Outlining the hot-spot strategy, Health MEC Bandile Masuku said the ward-based response team would be multidisciplinary and multisectoral that would include civil society, faith-based organisations and non-profit organisations as well as public health experts.

The team will collect data that would allow the department to know where individuals were – and also assist in mobilising society and enforce regulations to flatten the curve.

Masuku said part of the team's intervention would include attending to issues of social security and health issues.

"This is a multisectoral integrated way on how we are going to be dealing with hot spots. Not only dealing with Covid-19, but also focusing on other aspects, including TB and HIV. And this is a committee we are hoping that going forward will form the basis and nucleus of how the National Health Insurance will be implemented going forward.

"Because prevention is better than cure and is a greater strategy which is cost-effective. As we said before, we are going to be using our Covid-19 response as a good opportunity for us to put into place sustainable interventions that will make sure that our healthcare system remains dynamic and is able to respond to many aspects."

Speaking on health facilities, Masuku said the there was a rise of infections of healthcare workers and patients which resulted in the department developing a health facility response team for all districts.

The teams would ensure there was a standard response when there were reported cases within facilities, he added.

The teams will provide support to management and a Covid-19 steering committee to ensure services at facilities resume at a certain time after decontamination.

Masuku said services should resume at least one hour after decontamination.

The team will also be able to activate contact tracing of the infected healthcare worker or patient.

"This is aimed to make sure we limit the number of time the health facility will be interrupted," he added.

The facility teams will also be expected to arrange immediate counselling, debriefing for infected officials, colleagues and contacts.

For more news your way, download The Citizen's app for iOS and Android.